Henry Williamson and the First World War

 

 

 

The Last One Hundred Days of the War

 

 

 

August 8, 2018 marked the centenary of the opening day of the Battle of Amiens, the first action of the 100-day offensive that brought an end the stalemate of trench warfare and ultimately led to the end of the Great War. It is a battle that is now almost forgotten, overshadowed by the battles of the Somme and Passchendaele, names now synonymous with the carnage of the Western Front.

 

In 1928, ten years after the beginning of this momentous battle, Henry Williamson was asked by the Daily Express to write a series of articles to mark 'the principal events of the last hundred days of the war'. Williamson's name had news appeal in 1928: Tarka the Otter has been published the year before to critical acclaim, and just two months previously, in June 1928, he had been awarded the Hawthornden Prize.

 

Nine articles were published, but there were also three that for some reason remained unpublished. They make remarkable reading, and are given an immediacy that is effective even now, for Williamson, unusually, wrote them in the style of reportage.

 

To mark the centenary, the Henry Williamson Society is making these all articles available on the anniversary of their date.The first (unpublished) article is dated August 8, 1918, and the corrected typescript is shown below.

 

The first published article, 'The Last 100 Days', headed August 11, 1918, was printed on August 11, 1928 and can be read here from August 11, 2018. 

 

Dates of the the complete articles are:

 

August 8, 1918: 'The Last Hundred Days of the War' (unpublished typescript)

 

August 11, 1918: 'The Last 100 Days' (Daily Express, August 11, 1928)

 

August 18, 1918: 'With the 4th Army' (Daily Express, August 18, 1928)

 

August 21, 1918: 'The Last Hundred Days' (unpublished manuscript)

 

August 23, 1918: 'Tanks in Action' (Daily Express, August 23, 1928)

 

August 27, 1918: 'Last Hundred Days'(unpublished manuscript)

 

September 1, 1918: 'So why fight on?' (Daily Express, September 1, 1928)

 

September 26, 1918: 'Breaking through . . .' (Daily Express, September 26, 1928)

 

September 29, 1918: 'We break through the Line' (Daily Express, September 29, 1928)

 

October 27, 1918: 'Towards the armistice' (Daily Express, October 27, 1928)

 

October 31, 1918: 'Sick of the war . . .' (Daily Express, October 31, 1928)

 

November 3, 1918: 'There is talk of peace . . .' (Daily Express, November 3, 1928)

 

 *************************

 

August 8, 1918:

 

 

100days August8a

 

100days August8b

 

 

*************************

 

 

August 11, 1918:

 

 

100days August11

 

 

*************************

 

August 18, 1918:

 

100days August18

 

 

This is the first (and only surviving) page of the draft manuscript for the above article (they were numbered by HW in sequence, so that this is the third written although the second to be published):

 

 

100days August18MS

 

 

*************************

 

 

August 21, 1918:

 

This article remained unpublished, though, like the first, it is not known why. HW's handwriting not being the easiest to read, the manuscript below is followed by two transcripts: the first shows the crossings out, while the second is an easier-to-read revised text.

 

 

100days August21a

 

100days August21b

 

 

Transcript:

 

4th article

 

The Last Hundred Days

 

21 August, 1918.

 

Today the 3rd Army has planned to launch an attack to the north of the Ancre with the object of getting within striking distance of the main enemy defensive position which is to be assaulted in two days time.

 

From eight o’clock onwards until the previous night until 2 a.m. this morning, the troops infantry have been assembling on the tape-lines, the tanks waiting at their jumping-off points, the guns gunners working out the “lifts”of the barrage, the airplanes testing engines and machine guns ‒ for the attack on the enemy position along the twenty odd miles of the Albert‒Arras railway.

 

At 4.55 a.m. hours the sky above the chill white ground mist bubbled and roared with light, troops the infantry rose up & moved slowly forward at the arranged rate of 100 yards every th 3 minutes, and the tanks began to churn their way forward into the enemy barrage counter-barrage and hissing criss-cross fire of hundreds of machine guns. The mist hid everything within from sight outside three or four yards, for until nearly 11 hours (i.e. 11 a.m.).

 

The front line was taken so easily that it was realised the enemy reserves were being kept for strong counter-attacks behind a lightly-held outpost line. The field enemy guns were scanty, too: obviously they had been withdrawn.

 

Very suddenly, at 11 hours, the mist lifted thinned & vanished, revealing to our men the Arras‒Albert railway line. It proved to have been prepared as the enemy’s main defence, being commanded at point-blank range by the many field-guns; & all places that tanks could cross – where the line lay level, neither embanked

 

[MS p. 2]

 

nor laid in a cutting in the chalk – were not only carefully registered, but were blocked with by concrete and anti-tank stockades made of the well-known Hindenburg-line pattern ‒ a lengths of rail emb set close together & rising diagonally out of huge concrete blocks.

 

Immediately At once whirlwinds of fire & earth centred about the tanks, & within a few minutes thirty seven tanks were burst smashed & on fire in flames. Aeroplane But if the German gunners could at last see the tanks, the British ’planes could see the gunners, & dive at them with bomb & machine-gun fire.

 

The fight continued d lasted until the afternoon, when many of the tanks’ crews became unconscious and memory-losing in the great heat; which caused and in others the ammunition to swelled & jammed in the guns, sometimes exploding. Steering wheels were unbearably burned the hands, & were unholdable. owing to

 

By nightfall the line of the railway was gained all almost entirely, with several villages & 2000 prisoners; and preparations for the main attack of on 23rd were being sped across hastened all roads & tracks were thick with preparation men and mules & engines for the main assault in two days time.

 

 

**********

 

Revised transcript:

 

4th article

 

The Last Hundred Days

 

21 August, 1918.

 

From eight o’clock onwards the previous night until 2 a.m. this morning, the infantry have been assembling on the tape-lines, the tanks waiting at their jumping-off points, the gunners working out the “lifts”of the barrage, the airplanes testing engines and machine guns ‒ for the attack on the enemy position along the twenty odd miles of the Albert‒Arras railway.

 

At 4.55 hours the sky above the chill white ground mist bubbled and roared with light, the infantry rose up & moved slowly forward at the arranged rate of 100 yards every 3 minutes, and the tanks began to churn their way forward into the enemy counter-barrage and hissing criss-cross fire of hundreds of machine guns. The mist hid everything from sight outside three or four yards, until nearly 11 hours (i.e. 11 a.m.).

 

The front line was taken so easily that it was realised the enemy reserves were being kept for strong counter-attacks behind a lightly-held outpost line. The enemy guns were scanty, too: obviously they had been withdrawn.

 

Very suddenly, at 11 hours, the mist thinned & vanished, revealing to our men the Arras‒Albert railway line. It proved to have been prepared as the enemy’s main defence, being commanded at point-blank range by many field-guns; & all places that tanks could cross – where the line lay level, neither embanked

 

[MS p. 2]

 

nor laid in a cutting in the chalk – were not only carefully registered, but were blocked by anti-tank stockades of the well-known Hindenburg-line pattern ‒ lengths of rail set close together & rising diagonally out of huge concrete blocks.

 

At once whirlwinds of fire & earth centred about the tanks, & within a few minutes thirty seven tanks were smashed & in flames. But if the German gunners could at last see the tanks, the British ’planes could see the gunners, & dive at them with bomb & machine-gun fire.

 

The fight lasted until the afternoon, when many of the tanks’ crews became unconscious and memory-losing in the great heat; and in others the ammunition swelled & jammed in the guns, sometimes exploding. Steering wheels burned the hands, & were unholdable.

 

By nightfall the line of the railway was gained almost entirely, with several villages & 2000 prisoners; and all roads & tracks were thick with men and mules & engines for the main assault in two days time.

 

 

*************************

 

 

 August 23, 1918:

 

 

 100days August23

 

 

This is the first (and only surviving) page of the manuscript for the above article:

 

 

100days August23 MS

 

 

*************************

 

 

August 27, 1918

 

This article too was unpublished, though, like the other two, it is not known why. Only the first page of the heavily revised manuscript survives. HW's handwriting not being the easiest to read, the page below is followed by two transcripts: the first shows the crossings out, while the second is an easier-to-read revised text.

 

 

100days August27 MS

 

 

Transcript:

 

6th article  

 

Last Hundred Days

 

27 August 1918

 

Tonight the Germans continue their withdrawal to fa Today the German Army Group shaken commanded by Von Boehm, shaken by cease[less] Allied attacks continue their withdrawal from their old battlefields of the Somme giving up, under the ceaseless British & French Allied attacks, ground which down south, on the old 1916 battlefields – land which, two years ago, was behind heaved up and raked over, again & again known as the “Blood Bath of the Somme” – [.] At night the eastern sky battlefields are strangely quiet at night The night is strangely quiet: only the occasional crack of a sniper’s intermittent pop of a sentry’s rifle, and the stuttering bursts of machine gun fire in the wilderness. There is no regular line of flares soaring up, to drift down slowly, spreading a pallid greenish wavering light as they fall; there are no gun flashes on below the horizon, no chromatic whining of & buzzing of heavy shells. Jerry is ‘pulling out’, leaving rearguards in the among the long grass & the rusty wire to fire move up and down and fire [crossed out word not decipherable, possibly ‘rifles’] from many points, to give the impression that his trenches are fully held.

 

The rose col ruddy glow eastern sky is lit a glow with ruddy in the direction of Bapaume and Peronne is lit up with a the ruddy glow which is seen to of burning dumps. Sometimes the glow a tawny stain spreads to the zenith, to sink as to hang seeming to hang and tremble in the sky before sinking down, & rising again. Twenty, thirty, forty seconds afterwards come the dull rumbles of shells exploding miles away. The enemy is going far, falling back on the general line Quéant – east of Bapaume Bois de Havrincourt (Old “Mossy Face Wood” of the old Flying Corps, owing to its resemblance, from the air, to the ace of spades) – east of Peronne – Hav …

 

 

**********

 

Revised transcript:

 

6th article 

 

Last Hundred Days

 

27 August 1918

 

Today the German Army Group commanded by Von Boehm, shaken by cease[less] Allied attacks continue their withdrawal down south, on the old 1916 battlefields – land which, two years ago, was known as the “Blood Bath of the Somme” – [.] The night is strangely quiet: only the intermittent pop of a sentry’s rifle, and stuttering bursts of machine gun fire in the wilderness. There is no regular line of flares soaring up, to drift down slowly, spreading a pallid greenish wavering light as they fall; there are no gun flashes below the horizon, no chromatic whining & buzzing of heavy shells. Jerry is ‘pulling out’, leaving rearguards among the long grass & the rusty wire to move up and down and fire [crossed out word not decipherable, possibly ‘rifles’] from many points, to give the impression that his trenches are fully held.

 

The eastern sky in the direction of Bapaume and Peronne is lit up with the ruddy glow of burning dumps. Sometimes a tawny stain spreads to the zenith, seeming to hang and tremble in the sky before sinking down, & rising again. Twenty, thirty, forty seconds afterwards come the dull rumbles of shells exploding miles away. The enemy is going far, falling back on the general line Quéant–Bois de Havrincourt (“Mossy Face Wood” of the old Flying Corps, owing to its resemblance, from the air, to the ace of spades) – east of Peronne – Hav …

 

 

*************************

 

 

September 1, 1918

 

 

100Days September1

 

 

*************************

 

 

 

 

 

 

'REFLECTIONS ON THE DEATH OF A FIELD MARSHAL'

 

 

fm cont front    

Published in Contemporary Review, Vol. 218, No. 1265, June 1971, pp 303-313

Editor: Rosalind Wade (wife of Dr William Kean Seymour, who nominated HW for the Royal Society of Literature in 1954. The two men met through the West Country Writers Association.)

 

Anne Williamson's consideration of this essay, which was published in the June 1971 issue of Contemporary Review, will be published after the Society's Annual General Meeting weekend in October 2018, which will centre around this essay and the writing of it, and the centenary of the ending of the Great War.

 

The full text of the essay is presented below, so that it may be read before the weekend by those attending.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

fm article1

fm article2

fm article3

fm article4

fm article5

fm article6

fm article7

fm article8

fm article9

fm article10

fm article11

 

 

*************************

 

 

 

 

Back to 'A Life's Work'

 

 

 

 

 

Back to 'Henry Williamson and 208 Machine Gun Company, 1916‒1917'

 

Back to 'Henry Williamson and the First World War'

 

 

 

208 Machine Gun Company

 

Photographs from Henry Williamson's archive

 

 

 

One of HW's photograph albums in the Literary Archive contains several photographs of the officers and men of 208 Machine Gun Company, taken while in France.

 

 

LL 1917 McClare  McConnell

Identified on the reverse by HW as McLane and McConnel

(2nd Lieut. A. P. McClane and 2nd Lieut. McConnel, or McConnell)

 

 

LL 1917 2Lt Horseley
Second Lieutenant William F. Horsley

 

 

LL 1917 2Lt CF Wright

Second Lieutenant C. F. Wright

On the reverse HW has written 'Bright of No. 7. It was a true story.'

 

 

Regarding HW's caption above, in 1957 he wrote, as a note added into his 1917 Army Correspondence Book in red ink: '. . . Wright, a farmer and stout fellow, whose manner was a bit gauche . . . was a good officer. This was after a newspaper scandal, in which Wright's farmer brothers, in Wisbech, Cambridgeshire, tarred and feathered one of their wive's lovers, at night, and left him to die, for all they cared, in a field. I met 2/Lt Wright again in Norfolk in 1937, and I must say, he was a grim, rather abrupt little man.'

 

 

LL 208MGC Beaumont Hamel March1917

HW on the left with Lieutenant Tremlett, DSO, with the wreckage of a British plane at Beaumont Hamel

in March 1917. Note the thigh waders worn by HW, indicative of the atrocious conditions.

On Wednesday, 23 May 1917, HW wrote in his diary:

'Poor old Tremlett killed last night. Awarded the D.S.O. same morning.'

 

 

LL 208MGC Gomiecourt April1917

On the reverse HW has written: 'British plane crashed Gomiecourt April 1917. I am on left.'

The plane is a B.E.2c, identifiable both by its serial number and distinctive rudder. The B.E.2c was

a two-seat reconnaissance or artillery-observation biplane, with a maximum speed of 72 mph

at 10,000 ft. Obsolescent as a front-line aeroplane by this date, it would have been relatively easy

prey for German fighters, which were so superior at this period of the war that April 1917 became

known as Bloody April, due to the number of British planes that were shot down.

 

 

 

Officers and men of 208 Machine Gun Company; the guns are Vickers .303 inch machine guns, with a rate of fire of between 450 and 600 bullets a minute (for further information see the Machine Gun Corps Old Comrades' Association website):

 

 

LL 208MGCa

 

 

LL 208MGC April1917
On the left and right are Second Lieutenants McClane and McConnel; middle figure unknown

 

 

 

The following four photographs are on a single page in HW's album, titled '208 M.G. Coy. May '17 at ERVILLERS':

 

 

LL 208MGC Ervillers1 April1917

 

 

LL 208MGC Ervillers2 April1917

 

 

LL 208MGC Ervillers3 April1917

 

 

LL 208MGC Ervillers4 April1917

 

 

 

Back to 'Henry Williamson and 208 Machine Gun Company, 1916‒1917'

 

Back to 'Henry Williamson and the First World War'

 

 

 

 

Back to Henry Williamson and the London Rifle Brigade

 

 

 

The Daniel brothers

 

London Rifle Brigade

 

 

 

lrb daniel bros
(Photograph courtesy of Tom Daniel)

 

 

This studio portrait would have taken in August 1914, shortly after enrolling. Left to right: Alfred Austen, Harold Henry and Herbert William.

 

The Daniel brothers were the sons of Herbert and Clara Matilda Daniel, of 21 Vanbrugh Hill, Blackheath. Their low enrolment numbers are due to the London Rifle Brigade's numbering system, which went from 1 (in 1859) to 9999 (Henry Williamson's enrolment number was 9689); and then started again from 1.

 

 

 

lrb daniel alfred austen     

Alfred Austen Daniel

 

Private, No. 35, H Company, London Rifle Brigade, 5th Battalion, City of London Regiment.

 

 

 

 

 

 

De Ruvigny's Roll of Honour: A biographical record of all members of His Majesty's naval and military forces who have fallen in the war* gives this biography:

 

 

lrb daniel alfred austen2

 

 

Alfred Austen is buried in London Rifle Brigade Cemetery near Ploegsteert in Belgium (his grave is III A 3). Probate was granted on 15 May 1915, his effects being valued at £307 18s 3d. He is remembered on the war memorial at Haberdashers’ Aske’s school, New Cross. The photograph below of his grave was taken in 1915 by his brother (probably Herbert); it is more than likely that the two surviving brothers helped to make the cross and its inscription.

 

 

lrb daniel aa grave

 

 

 

*************************

 

 

lrb daniel harold cropped     

Harold Henry Daniel

 

Private, No. 28, G Company, London Rifle Brigade, 5th Battalion, City of London Regiment.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Harold was born in 1896, the youngest of the three brothers. He went to school at Christ's Hospital in Horsham, unlike his two brothers, who both attended Haberdashers’ Aske’s. He enrolled in the LRB with his brothers on 6 August 1914 and placed in G Company, despite being underage. He served with the battalion until he was sent back to England in 1915, as it was discovered that he was too young. He thought that he had been ratted on by his brother Bert to keep him safe. Subsequently it has been discovered it was a policy decision to send all identified underage troops back until they were old enough to enlist. He was given a white feather in the Strand. He eventually joined 13 (Service) Battalion, Royal Fusiliers (with his brother Bert), and was wounded on the Somme.

 

After the war Harold worked with the Westminster Bank, and was Manager of their Wimbledon branch before taking early retirement to nurse his wife. Always a kind man, he was a very devout Christian who converted to Catholicism. He apparently was responsible for raising the funds for the building of St Anne's Catholic Church Hall in Banstead, and was friend and advisor to many, as also shown by the comments in the book signed by customers of his bank on his retirement. He never mentioned his experiences in the First World War, but often suffered from pain in his leg, the result of the injuries he had sustained during the Somme offensive in 1916. Harold died at Folkestone, Kent, in 1958.

 

 

*************************

 

 

lrb daniel herbert crop     

Herbert William Daniel

 

Private, No. 19, G Company, London Rifle Brigade, 5th Battalion, City of London Regiment.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Herbert, the eldest of the three, was born on 7 March 1893. A bank clerk, he enrolled in the LRB with his brothers on 6 August 1914 and, like Harold, placed in G Company. He spent the first winter in the trenches as a corporal, and witnessed the Christmas Truce. He was in the line for the first German gas attacks of 1915. He was seriously wounded during this period and his younger brother Alfred Austen killed. Bert and his brother Harold were commissioned in 13 (Service) Battalion, Royal Fusiliers. In October 1917 he was wounded again, and awarded the Military Cross. The citation reads:

 

For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty. He was responsible for getting up ammunition and supplies to the front line and carried out his duties under very heavy shell fire. When a dump was heavily shelled, and many casualties were caused, he was responsible by his coolness and example, for getting all the supplies forward to the troops in the line.

 

Place and dates: East of Ypres, 27 September to 7 October 1917.

 

(In 2015 the Daniel family visited Flanders for the 100th anniversary of Alfred Austen's death, and also visited the site of this action. The original orders for the brigade and battalion dictated that one officer and a number of men were to be detached to bring up ammunition and supplies to the battalion once they reached their first objectives. These orders also revealed the exact locations of the dump that was shelled and the battalion headquarters to which the supplies had to be taken. The family was therefore able to retrace the exact steps that Bert would have taken. He was more proud of this medal than the subsequent bar to his MC, so the citation seems to have been a bit of an understatement!)

 

Bert was later again wounded. In 1918, by then an acting captain, he was awarded a bar to his MC, the citation reading:

 

For conspicuous gallantry during the operations on October 8th, 1918, at Hurtebise Farm. The advance of his company was held up by heavy rifle and machine gun fire, the officers and N.C.O.s in the leading wave having been killed or wounded, and the front line somewhat shaken. He at once took over the leading wave, reorganised and led it forward to its final objective. Unaided by the artillery fire he advanced 800 yards and captured Hurtebise Farm with some hundred prisoners and ten machine guns. Throughout the operation he showed marked courage and able leadership.

 

(In 2015 Bert's grandson Tom visited Hurtebise Farm, and was able, following the original orders recovered from Imperial War Museum archives and a trench map of the area from that time, to walk the route of the attack; he was welcomed by the farmer, who showed him the German blockhouse that had held up the attack before it was overrun. He also told Tom that it had been visited a few years earlier by the descendants of another man in the attack, who turned out to be the Company Sergeant Major of the company that Bert was leading; in that same action CSM Edmonds, MM and Bar, was awarded a bar to his Distinguished Conduct Medal. A hundred years later their two families are now in contact . . .)

 

This photograph of Bert was taken in late 1918, so at about the time of this action:

 

 

lrb daniel bert small

 

 

Bert was then wounded a third time, and mentioned in Dispatches. By the time of the Armistice Bert was again with the 13th Battalion as a company commander, with the rank of Captain.

 

After demobilization Bert returned to work in the City, but in 1920 rejoined the Royal Fusiliers as a regular officer, joining the 1st Battalion, then in Killarney, Ireland (at the time of the Irish Troubles), and later going to India with the battalion advance party. Apart from one tour at the regimental depot at Hounslow in the late 1920s Bert stayed with the 1st Battalion in India until posted to the 2nd Battalion at Pembroke Dock in 1935. When that battalion went to France in 1939 he was second in command, until becoming seriously ill early in 1940 and being invalided home. A partial recovery led to his appointment as second in command of the 8th Battalion.

 

Unfortunately Bert again became ill and was employed in administrative posts for the remainder of the war. In 1945 and 1946 he ran a rehabilitation centre for officers near Edinburgh, and many young officers expressed their gratitude then for his understanding, advice and practical assistance. He retired from active service in 1947, but became heavily involved with the Home Guard between 1949 and 1952, when he commanded a home guard battalion of the Queens Royal West Surrey Regiment. He became seriously ill again as a result of his wartime injuries, but made an almost complete recovery to live in full retirement thereafter.

 

At the time of his death in 1985 he was thought to be the last surviving Royal Fusiliers officer to hold the Mons Star, therefore being entitled to be called an 'Old Contemptible'. He married Moira and had three children:  Patricia, Constance (Blue) and John, who in his turn became a Fusilier. In due course John's son (and Bert's grandson), named after Austen, continued the family tradition and was also for a while a Rifleman, having been commissioned into the Royal Green Jackets.

 

 

*************************

 

 

Pilgrimage to London Rifle Brigade positions in and around Ploegsteert Wood

 

February 2015; and Afterword

 

by

 

Tom Daniel

 

Alfred Austen died before he married or could have children. For the 100th anniversary of his untimely death a party of the children and grandchildren of his brothers and sisters returned to Ypres and Ploegsteert to commemorate him. The party included another generation of three Daniel brothers and their children. Research made it possible to visit the precise LRB positions of the Christmas Truce and the line of trench that Austen’s company held when he was shot and received his fatal wound. As they walked the route from the trenches, through the dressing station to the LRB cemetery, a good many family memories were shared – including that of Bert having been called to be with Austen as he lay wounded and dying.  

 

Whilst there will be exceptions, it was British Army policy for other ranks to join different regiments once they were commissioned in order to free them from the complications of leading men with whom they had recently shared the same rank. Austen’s brothers were sent to join the Royal Fusiliers. They appear a number of times in Guy Chapman’s excellent history A Passionate Prodigality (1933). Interestingly, Chapman starts a chapter with a quote from The Pilgrim’s Progress – coincidental or otherwise to HW’s The Patriot’s Progress.  For Christmas Day 1917 Harold (by now the Signals Officer, and nicknamed Dozy) must have been party to the fact that a listening set was being used in their line to hear the Germans talk of the Spring Offensive – what a different atmosphere from Christmas 1914. Towards the end of the war Chapman (by then Adjutant) writes that 'since March 1st [1918] we had lost over 40 officers and well over a thousand men'. By October he states that 'P.E. is gone, so are both the Daniels, Dozy and Danny, all wounded. We are now only a shredded rag.'  Bert (Danny) was patched up and back with the battalion when, after the Armistice, Chapman writes: 'an influenza epidemic fell upon us'. 

 

Bert, Austen and Harold were in the trenches in November 1914 and, despite being wounded several times between them, as well as gassed, the surviving brothers were still fighting on the Western Front at the end of 1918. What is amazing is that they were not only infantry, but infantry officers (with the low survival rates often quoted); apart from their short commissioning course, they had stayed fighting at the Front when jobs back at the depot or on the staff might have been open to them. Their descendants have often wondered whether they were fighting so long and hard for their fallen brother Austen . . .

 

On Sunday, 25 January, the family that Austen had never met gathered in the London Rifle Brigade Cemetery in Ploegsteert Wood; the London Rifle Brigade collect was read, a service held and a bugler sounded either side of a 3-minute silence over Austen Daniel’s grave, where he still lies amongst his LRB family and brothers in arms . . .

 

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old: 

Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn. 

At the going down of the sun and in the morning 

We will remember them.

 

*************************

 

 

(Our thanks to Tom Daniel, Herbert's grandson, for his invaluable help in compiling this page.)

 

 

*************************

 

 

*Melville Amadeus Henry Douglas Heddle de La Caillemotte de Massue de Ruvignés, 9th Marquis of Ruvigny and 15th of Raineval (25 April 1868–6 October 1921) was a British genealogist and author, who was twice president of the Legitimist Jacobite League of Great Britain and Ireland. His Roll of Honour lists the biographies of over 26,000 casualties of the Great War. Casualties include men (both officers and other ranks) from the British Army, Navy, and Air Force. Seven thousand of the biographies include photographs. This Roll of Honour was originally compiled in 5 volumes; the amount of information available for each entry varies according to sources used. At the very least, the man’s regiment, and place and date of death are generally provided. However, if the family of a casualty provided further background and additional details, then this information is included in the biography as well, sometimes resulting in very detailed biographies. While the date range of the collection covers from the beginning of the war to well after its end in 1918, the majority of the entries are of casualties who died in the earlier years.

 

 

 

Back to Henry Williamson and the London Rifle Brigade

 

 

 

 

Back to 'Henry Williamson and the London Rifle Brigade, 1914–1915'

 

Back to 'Henry Williamson and the First World War'

 

 

P Company, London Rifle Brigade

 

 

This is a nominal roll of the members of P Company, London Rifle Brigade, as at August 1914. Those belonging to the 1st Battalion who sailed to France on the SS Chyebassa on 4 November were all volunteers. There were 237 other ranks in the battalion who chose not to go, or were prevented from going, overseas at that time, for whatever reason. Henry Williamson would have known all these P Company men, whether they volunteered for overseas service or not, as he had joined the LRB on 22 January 1914. An example is HW's friend Harold Hose, who was discharged as medically unfit in September 1914. They had joined the LRB together: Hose's name appears just above HW's in the LRB Register, with the preceding number 9688.

 

HW portrayed his time in the LRB, lightly fictionalised, in two of his novels: How Dear is Life and A Fox Under My Cloak (vols 4 and 5 in his 15-volume novel sequence A Chronicle of Ancient Sunlight). A number of P Company men are portrayed therein, either under their own names or fictional ones. Those identified are: Baldwin, Bell (fictionalised as 'Douglas'), Blunden (who wrote to HW in 1961, on reading one of these two books, 'I chuckled at finding myself in the “London Highlanders”'), Coulson (fictionalised as 'Church'), Elliott, Fursdon (fictionalised as 'Thorverton'), Kirk, and Martin. There is, however, a caveat. In dedicating A Fox Under My Cloak to Captain Douglas Bell, MC, HW warned:

 

Each of the characters in this novel had an existence in the 1914–18 war, though not all necessarily acted or played their parts in the times and places mentioned in the story.

 

 

*************************

 

 

The nominal roll is presented in the following order:

 

Name, Forename/s

Army Number/s Rank; War zone LRB ranks* Dates overseas; Details of military service & notes; (personal details)

 

(* 'LRB Ranks' is a term used to define those not officers; quite a number of LRB men were commissioned in the field and continued to serve without a break. The medal rolls record the last day of service of soldiers in the ranks. If commissioned they were moved to another medal roll with no information on it, so only their service as rankers is known. Oddly, the same rule applied if they were captured.)

 

Awards and being commissioned into the LRB are underlined. 

 

 

Glossary:

 

  Killed in the war
CCS Casualty Clearing Station
  Coy Company
DoW Died of wounds
ed educated
emp employer / employment
F/F France and Flanders (the war zone in which they served with the LRB)
  GSW Gun shot wound
  IWM Imperial War Museum
KIA Killed in action
  o/s overseas
occ occupation
Rfn

Rifleman

 

 

A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  R  S  T  U  W


 

Adams, Edward Amery

6968/300007 Sgt; F/F LRB ranks 4.11.14‒23.8.15; DCM for 2nd Ypres; Signalling Sergeant; (b.1878 Catford; emp: clerk, Sun Fire Assurance Co; enlisted 11.11.1897 ‘P’ Coy; lived Richmond; died 1952 Ashburton, Devon); DCM 2nd Ypres List 28‒22.5.15; citation reads:

 

For conspicuous zeal and devotion to duty in repairing telephone lines both by day and night under continual shell and rifle fire, it being largely due to his personal work and supervision that communication was maintained.

 

Aris, John Woodbridge 

 

lrb 190 aris

(Image courtesy of Robert Chester and Stanley Gardner)

 

9513 L/Corp; F/F LRB ranks 4.11.14‒27.7.15; Commissioned ASC (Heavy Transport) 27.7.15; posted to 3/5 Bn. 22.2.18; France with 2/10 London R. 30.4.18‒8.8.18, wounded; (b.1893 Croydon; enlisted 17.2.1913 ‘P’ Coy; emp: Stock Exchange clerk; lived South Norwood; Brighton Marcher 18 April 1914; present at the unveiling of the London Rifle Brigade Memorial, London Rifle Brigade Cemetery, Ploegsteert 1927; died 1977 Battle, Sussex)

 

Atkins, Harold Broadley

9567/300131 Corp; F/F LRB ranks 4.11.14‒1.7.16; KIA 1.7.16 age 27; commemorated Thiepval Memorial Pier and Face 9 D; (b.1890; lived Stoke Newington; emp: Civil Service clerk; enlisted 19.6.13 ‘P’ Coy; Probate 9.7.17, Estate £80 19s 8d)

 

Baldwin, Norman Edward

 

lrb baldwin

(HU66185, IWM)

 

9701 Sgt; F/F LRB ranks 4.11.14‒3.8.16; Commissioned LRB 3.8.16; posted ‘A’ Coy; KIA 8.10.16 Les Boeufs; commemorated Caterpillar Valley Cem. Longueval, Somme XX K5; (b.1893 Bromley; ed: Royal Masonic School, Bushey; lived Honor Oak Park, Forest Hill; occ: engineering clerk; enlisted 5.2.14 ‘P’ Coy; Probate 12.11.17, Estate £372 18s 6d)

 

Bartlett, Stanley

9558 Corp; F/F LRB ranks 4.11.14‒12.9.17; UK 17.12.14‒3.10.16; (enlisted originally 8999 ‘H’ Coy 10.6.09; re‒enlisted 8.5.13 ‘P’ Coy; lived Dulwich)

 

Basting, Arthur Gresham

9627 Rfn; F/F LRB ranks 4.11.14‒27.11.15; Commissioned 13 Rifle Brigade 27.11.15; (b.1894 West Ham; enlisted 9.10.13 ‘P’ Coy; occ: boot maker; lived South Tottenham; died 1965 Redhill, Surrey)

 

Bell, Cedric Molesworth

 

lrb 032 CMBell

(Image courtesy of Jane Jones ww1photos.com)

 

9215 Rfn; F/F LRB ranks 4.11.14‒27.4.15; Wounded by shrapnel; to UK 8.12.14 to 28.3.15; wounded by shell fire 26.4.15; DoW 27.4.15 before reaching CCS; age 22; commemorated Bailleul Communal Cem. Ext. Nord I A 175; (b.23.5.1893 Haringey; ed: Owen’s School, Islington; father, Chief Accountant of the Royal Academy of Music and Sgt. Major 5 London Bde. RFA; enlisted 27.10.10 ‘P’ Coy; lived Haringey; emp: Thompson & Co (Shippers))

 

Bell, Douglas Herbert

8351 L/Corp; F/F LRB ranks 4.11.14‒5.4.15; Commissioned 2 Cameron Highlanders 5.4.15; later RFC; MC; (b.1891 Hull, Yorkshire; ed: Colfe's Grammar School, Lewisham; enlisted 2.4.08 ‘P’ Coy; occ: bank clerk; lived Catford; author of the book A Soldier’s Diary of the Great War (published anonymously; with a lengthy Introduction by Henry Williamson), and several other books, including two on Sir Francis Drake; died 1964 Taunton, Devon)

 

Benns, Arthur Lionel

9148 L/Corp; F/F LRB ranks 4.11.14‒12.5.15; Wounded 2nd Ypres; commissioned LRB 27.9.15; posted ‘C’ Coy 1/5 Bn. 5.3.16; KIA 1.7.16 Gommecourt; commemorated Thiepval Memorial Pier & Face 9D; (b. 1891 Greenwich; ed: Christ’s Hospital and Aske’s Schools; enlisted 28.4.10 ‘P’ Coy; occ: clerk with ship owners; lived Katherine’s Park, New Cross)

 

Billing, Edgar George

9559/300127 Sgt; F/F LRB ranks 4.11.14‒19.5.19; Attached 8 MG Coy 20.1.16‒17.5.16; (b.1893 E Dulwich; occ: clerk, linoleum company; enlisted 6.5.13 ‘P’ Coy; lived Dulwich; died 1965 Croydon, Surrey)

 

Birch, Alfred Victor

8646 Rfn; F/F LRB ranks 4.11.14‒18.1.16; Transferred 28 London R. No. 6470; commissioned 6 Gloucester R 5.6.16; later attached 13 Gloucester R; (b.1888 Edmonton; enlisted 7.11.12 ‘A’ Coy; lived Squirrels Heath; present at the unveiling of the London Rifle Brigade Memorial, London Rifle Brigade Cemetery, Ploegsteert 1927; died 1965 Enfield)

 

Blomfield, Harold Herbert Erwood

9696 Rfn; Transferred ASC No. M/324085; served overseas with ASC; (b.1891 Islington; occ: insurance clerk; lived Stamford Hill; enlisted 29.1.14 ‘P’ Coy; died 1942 Surbiton, Surrey; Probate 11.9.42, Estate £2,307 1s 3d)

 

Blunden, Arthur Edmond

9800 L/Corp; F/F LRB ranks 4.11.14‒10.5.15; Wounded 2nd Ypres 2.5.15; and lost arm 6.5.15; discharged under King’s Regulations 392 XVI 19.8.15, wounds; Silver War Badge No. 17190; (b.1888 Macclesfield, Cheshire; emp: insurance clerk, Gresham Life; enlisted 19.2.09 ‘P’ Coy. No. 8647; re‒enlisted 4.8.14 ‘P’ Coy; lived Leytonstone; present at the unveiling of the London Rifle Brigade Memorial, London Rifle Brigade Cemetery, Ploegsteert 1927; died 1978)

 

Bowmer, William Reginald

9840/300206 Corp; F/F LRB ranks 4.11.14‒8.6.15; Transferred RAF and later commissioned RAF 3.1.17; (b.1890 Greenwich; enlisted 5.8.14 ‘P’ Coy; lived Purley; occ: engineers' clerk; died 1954 Devon)

 

Burrowes, Peter

9671 Rfn; F/F LRB ranks 4.11.14‒7.2.16; Wounded 2nd Ypres No. 2 Coy; commissioned 3/6 Essex R. 8.2.16; RFC; qualified as pilot 26.4.17; (b.1896 Edmonton; enlisted 11.2.13 ‘P’ Coy; lived Hornsey; died 1971 Cuckfield, Sussex)

 

Carrette, Richard Henry

9673 Rfn; F/F LRB ranks 4.11.14‒28.12.14; Commissioned 2/1 Cambridge R. 14.5.15; (b.1896 Cork, Ireland; enlisted 11.12.13 ‘P’ Coy; lived Walthamstow; died 1967 Surrey)

 

Chanter, Albert Leutchford

9748/300185 Rfn; F/F LRB ranks 4.11.14‒10.5.15; Wounded 2nd Ypres, May 1‒3; transferred HAC Depot; discharged under King’s Regulations 392 XVI 13.4.17, wounds, Silver War Badge No.157826; (b.1891 Camberwell; enlisted 1.5.14 ‘P’ Coy; emp: national telephone clerk; lived Victoria; died 1980 Weymouth)

 

Chappell, Herbert John ‘Jack’

9608 Rfn; F/F LRB ranks 4.11.14‒4.5.15; Commissioned 17 London R. 1.11.15; MC; (b.1896 Walthamstow; enlisted 25.9.13 ‘P’ Coy; lived Walthamstow; first cousin of the Latham brothers, listed below); MC 2/Lt, London Gazette 18.3.18; for 14.9.17 east of Westhoek Ridge; citation reads:

 

For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty. He made a very successful reconnaissance of an enemy strong point which enabled plans to be made for its capture. He led his platoon to the attack in a most skilful and courageous manner, captured the position without a single casualty, and held it until relieved under heavy shell fire.

 

LRB Record, April 1936; Old Members:

 

We offer our congratulations to Lieut.-Colonel H J Chappell MC, on being awarded the Territorial Decoration. Lieut.-Colonel Chappell went overseas with the 1st Battalion in 1914, at which time he was only seventeen. He was subsequently gazetted to the Tower Hamlets Rifles of which he is now commanding officer.

 

Chatterley, Ernest William

9691 Rfn; F/F LRB ranks 4.11.14‒2.10.16; Transferred Military Foot Police; commissioned MFP 2.10.16; served in Salonika; later RFC, Capt; (b.1895 Chelsea; occ: mercantile asst; enlisted 22.1.14 ‘P’ Coy; lived Deptford; died 1973 Easthampstead, Berks.)

 

Chilvers, Edward Harvey

9275 Rfn; F/F LRB ranks 17.12.14‒30.3.16; Joined 1/5 Bn. 21.2.15; service file states 5.8.14‒21.10.14 1/5 Bn; posted 2/5 Bn. 15.12.14; discharged at end of Term of Engagement 11.4.16; British War Medal claimed by the Admiralty as No. L.Z. 4958; re-enlisted into RNVR; Royal Naval Division; first ship President II 17.7.16; last Treyantle 31.3.18; (b.1887 Clerkenwell; enlisted 6.4.11 ‘P’ Coy; ref. from Halfhide a ‘Chyebassa’ man, same firm; emp: buying room apprentice, Macky, Logan, Carswell & Co; died 1963 Invergordan, Scotland)

 

Clarke, Ernest Percy

9580 Rfn; F/F LRB ranks 4.11.14‒; Transferred Labour Corps; commissioned Labour Corps 12.10.17; (b.1891 Kensington; occ: clerk; enlisted 11.9.13 ‘P’ Coy; lived West Ealing, Middlesex; present at the unveiling of the London Rifle Brigade Memorial, London Rifle Brigade Cemetery, Ploegsteert 1927)

 

Clarke, William Bertram

9516/300115 Rfn; F/F LRB ranks 25.1.17‒29.1.18; 2/5 Bn; posted 28 London R. F/F 30.1.18‒20.2.19; (b.1889 Wood Green; enlisted 27.2.13 ‘P’ Coy; occ: estate and auctioneers' clerk)

 

Coulson, Arthur Victor

9360 Rfn; F/F LRB ranks 4.11.14‒14.8.15; Commissioned 7 Middlesex R. 29.10.15; (b.1893 Forest Gate; occ: solicitors' clerk; enlisted 1.2.12 ‘P’ Coy; lived Leytonstone; died 1973 Southend on Sea, Essex)

 

Cross, Philip Frank

9584 Rfn; F/F LRB ranks 4.11.14‒28.8.15; Commissioned West Riding R. 28.8.15; later Royal West Kent R; (b.1896 Camberwell; enlisted 11.9.13 ‘P’ Coy; lived Herne Hill)

 

Dean, Stanley J.

 

lrb 190 dean

(Image courtesy of Robert Chester and Stanley Gardner)

 

8910 Rfn; F/F LRB ranks 4.11.14‒2.1.17; Transferred 30 London R. No. 800600; (enlisted 23.3.09 ‘P’ Coy; lived Wealdstone)

 

Denton, Norman Croft

9534/300120 Rfn; F/F LRB ranks 4.11.14‒24.2.15; Commissioned 5 Rifle Brigade 12.5.15; (b.1894 Lewisham; occ: insurance clerk; lived Eltham, Kent; enlisted 27.3.13 ‘P’ Coy; political officer, Colonial Service Nigeria 1921‒1934; died 1975 North Walsham, Norfolk)

 

Diplock, Trevor Langham

8237/300022 CSM; F/F LRB ranks 4.11.14‒28.3.18; POW, captured 28.3.18 Gavrelle; (b.1888 Clapham; enlisted 26.4.06 ‘P’ Coy; occ: shipping clerk; lived Dulwich; present at the unveiling of the London Rifle Brigade Memorial, London Rifle Brigade Cemetery, Ploegsteert, 1927; died 1944 Wood Green) Medal rolls do not record period in captivity

 

Dixon, Charles William ‘Bill’

 

lrb bill dixon

(HU66185, IWM)

 

9727/300181 A/Corp; F/F LRB ranks 4.11.14‒29.4.15; (b.1893 Stoke Newington; occ: clerk, petroleum company; enlisted 26.3.14 ‘P’ Coy; lived 145 Albion Road, Stoke Newington; one of three brothers who sailed on the Chyebassa)

 

Dixon, George

6544 L/Corp; F/F LRB ranks 4.11.14‒7.4.16; Discharged end of term of engagement 20.4.16; discharged under King’s Regulations 392 XVI 20.4.16, over age, Silver War Badge No. 90180; (enlisted 1.2.1895 ‘P’ Coy; lived Finsbury Park)

 

Dixon, Harry Sydney ‘Squib’

 

lrb squib dixon

(HU66185, IWM)

 

9730 Rfn; F/F LRB ranks 4.11.14‒13.5.15; KIA 3.5.15 age 18; commemorated Menin Gate Panel 52 and 54; (b.1897 Stoke Newington; enlisted 26.3.14 ‘P’ Coy; lived 145 Albion Road with brothers Walter and Bill)

 

Dixon, Walter Howard

 

lrb walter dixon

(HU66185, IWM)

 

9467 Rfn; F/F LRB ranks 4.11.14‒10.5.15; DoW 10.5.15; Wimereux Comm. Cem; (b.1891 Stoke Newington; occ: merchants clerk; enlisted 14.11.12 ‘P’ Coy; lived 145 Albion Road; Probate 9.11.15, Estate £130 16s 8d)

 

Ellen, Arthur William ‘Gus’

 

lrb 450 ellen

(Image courtesy of Paul Staples)

 

7987/300013 CSM; F/F LRB ranks 4.11.14‒27.3.18; Prisoner of war, captured 28.3.18 at Gavrelle, German Spring Offensive; discharged under King’s Regulations 392 XVI 13.2.19, sick; Silver War Badge No. 1999? age 33; (b.1885 Lambeth; enlisted 20.4.03 ‘P’ Coy; occ: tailor; lived Brixton; present at the unveiling of the London Rifle Brigade Memorial, London Rifle Brigade Cemetery, Ploegsteert 1927; LT QM RAOC 1940; died 1941 Burton on Trent) Medal rolls do not record period in captivity

 

Ellen, Hubert F

9204 Rfn; Transferred RE; Gallipoli with 29 Division; France 1916; MM Sgt. 558235, 29 Div. Signals attached 29 Div. Artillery; Belgian Decoration Militaire and Croix de Guerre; (enlisted 15.9.10 ‘P’ Coy; lived Tufnell Park) MM for Ypres 17/20.10.17; short biography and citation for MM below are from 29 Divisional History; citation reads:

 

Flanders 1917. For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty. From the 17th to 20th October in the sector north-east of Ypres, this NCO as Sergeant in charge of the Signal Section, H.Q. 29th D.A., displayed the greatest gallantry and coolness in laying and repairing telephone lines continuously under heavy shell fire. On the 20th October, after his fellow linesman had been wounded, he worked on single-handed under heavy fire and was successful in maintaining communications throughout the day. (MM (immediate) 28.1.18)

 

1915–18. Sergeant Ellen has served continuously in the 29th Division since 1915, was in the original landing and in the subsequent operations at Gallipoli, and came to France with the Division in 1916. He has been in charge of the 29th D.A.H.Q. Signal Section since its formation in 1917 and has been in every action in which the D.A. has taken part, showing great gallantry on many occasions, notably in the battles in October, 1917, at Langemarck, and at Ploegsteert in September, 1918. His initiative at critical times and devotion to duty under the most trying conditions have contributed most materially to the successful maintenance of the artillery communications. (Belgian ‘Decoration‘ Militaire, 2nd Class, and Croix de Guerre 24.10.18)

 

Elliot, Christopher Jonathan

 

lrb 066 CJElliott

(Image courtesy of Jane Jones ww1photos.com)

 

9395 Rfn; F/F LRB ranks 4.11.14‒27.4.15; DoW 27.4.15, commemorated Vlamertinghe Mil. Cem. Ypres II B8; (b.1896: enlisted 5.5.12 ‘P’ Coy; lived S.W. London; emp: Gresham Life Assurance); Dulwich College Roll of Honour:

 

. . . volunteered with a comrade to carry a wounded man from the trench to the dressing station; both bearers were wounded by machine gun fire which had been turned on them, but they stuck to their job and reached their destination: the dressing station was afterwards shelled and he was killed. He had the reputation in his regiment of having great bodily strength, an iron constitution and the heart of a lion. A card of commendation was sent to him by the General Officer Commanding, intimating that he had distinguished himself by conspicuous bravery in the field – this was in respect of taking water to several wounded men who lay exposed in the open under fire.

 

Ellis, Horace Alexander

9655 Rfn; F/F LRB ranks 4.11.14‒13.2.15; To 3/5 Bn. 9.4.15; discharged under King’s Regulations 392 XVI 4.6.15, sick, age 21; Silver War Badge No. 265896; (b.1894 Kingston upon Thames, Surrey; emp: clerk, London & South Western Bank; enlisted 13.11.13 ‘P’ Coy; lived Kingston upon Thames; died 1947)

 

Farrar, Walter Fleetwood

9692 Rfn; Not o/s in LRB ranks; Transferred 2/23 London R. Nos. 5198/702028; F/F 3.16; commissioned Tank Corps; Capt; (b.1895 Leytonstone; enlisted 22.1.14 ‘P’ Coy; lived Leytonstone; died 1974 Eastbourne, Sussex)

 

Feast, Arthur Cooper

 

lrb 462 feast

(Image courtesy of Chris Rippingale)

 

9114 Sgt; F/F LRB ranks 4.11.14‒11.5.15; Commissioned LRB in the field 11.5.15; invalided 18.5.15; served 3/5 Bn; A/Capt 11.3.17; Lieut.1.7.17; (b.1881 South Norwood; ed: Merchant Taylors’ School; cadets 1895‒1899; ranks 1899‒1907, re‒enlisted 3.3.10 ‘P’ Coy; lived Purley; occ: auctioneer; rejoined post war OC ‘C’ Coy; later worked in Kenya; died 1948 Paddington)

 

LRB Record, Jan. 1925; Transfer to the Reserve:

 

Captain A C Feast, T.D.  The extracts from the London Gazette, notifying the transfer of Capt. A C Feast from the active list, is a cold statement of fact, merely intimating that the Officer commanding ‘C’ Company, has relinquished his active connection with the Regiment and transferred to the Regimental Reserve. To many thousands, however, who served with the LRB since the early part of 1900, it signifies the passing of a very real personality and a fine soldier – one of the best that even the LRB has produced.

 

Arthur Feast joined the Regiment from the Merchant Taylors’ School Cadets (then attached with other Cadet Units to the LRB) in 1899 serving until the 31st October 1907. He rejoined the Regiment on 3rd March 1910, and continued with unbroken service to date of the notice in the ‘Gazette’ which we mention. He was appointed L/Corporal in 1911, promoted Corporal in 1913, and Sergeant in 1914, which rank he held when he embarked with the 1st Battalion on board the ‘Chyebassa’ on the 4th Nov. 1914 en route for France. He returned from France with a commission in the Regiment after distinguishing himself in the fighting at the second Battle of Ypres, he being one of the stalwart band which went all through the battle and came out untouched.

 

He was awarded the Territorial Decoration in 1923. One who knew, and knows, Feast very well sends us this appreciation: ‒ ‘It was my very good fortune to join the LRB in the same year as and very soon after Arthur Feast. It was in the year 1900 during the South African War when there were hundreds of enlistments and the sources of the Regiment were taxed to the utmost to provide Instructors for the twenty or more Squads that were to be seen nightly in the Drill Hall. Feast was ‘passing out’ as I passed in and I remember mentally remarking I hoped he was as proficient as noisy, for he was then possessed, and ever remained so, of remarkable spirits. Shortly after he joined the M.G. Section commanded by then Lieut. C D Burnell. This Section contained many of the very particular ‘Regimental Stars’; Lloyd, Clement Hook, Fossey, Maltby, Beart, Denny and others among them. In Camp they were the life and soul of the training. I can still see Feast, Lloyd, Cyril Webb and Jim Hicks in a peculiar mixture of attire holding forth in the wet canteen, terrorising the Canteen Corporal who invariably had to seek the assistance of the ‘P’ Company Col‒Sergt. – the great Peter Warcup – before they could be prevailed upon to ‘go home quietly’. An advance party or a rear part if Feast were a member became a very real joy to every one but the Officer in charge. No man had more friends and once you had met him you would never let him slip from your memory. A fine soldier, and a real comrade we all wish him the best luck.’

 

Funnell, George Ferguson

 

lrb 190 funnell

(Image courtesy of Robert Chester and Stanley Gardner)

 

9442 Rfn; F/F LRB ranks 4.11.14‒6.5.15; Commissioned RNVR (Anson Bn. RND) 9.9.15; (b.1893 Dulwich; occ: bank clerk; enlisted 4.11.12 ‘P’ Coy; lived Thornton Heath; died 1935 Plymouth, Devon)

 

Furrell, Lincoln

 

lrb furrell

(HU66185, IWM)

 

9389 L/Sgt; F/F LRB ranks 4.11.14‒27.4.15; KIA 27.4.15; age 27; commemorated Menin Gate Panel 52 and 54; (b.1888 Brockley, Kent; occ: insurance clerk; enlisted 12.4.12 ‘P’ Coy; lived Lewisham; Brighton Marcher 18 April 1914; Probate 23.6.15, Estate £116 3s 8d)

 

Fursdon, George Ellsworth Sydenham

1/5 Bn. to France 4.11.142.3.15, wounded Ploegsteert Wood; Lieut. 31.3.15; rejoined 1/5 Bn. France 17.7.15‒9.9.15, sick; transferred to TF Reserve 23.5.16; Asst. Recruiting Officer Plymouth 11.11.15‒5.6.16; Sub‒area Commander Exeter 6.6.16 to 31.10.17; Recruiting Staff Officer to Director of Recruiting Bristol 1.11.17‒31.12.18; (b.1893 Paddington; ed: Westminster School and Trinity College, Cambridge; Westminster School OTC, Sgt; Cambridge Univ. OTC, Sgt. 1912‒1914; 2/Lieut. LRB 20.9.14; present at the unveiling of the London Rifle Brigade Memorial, London Rifle Brigade Cemetery, Ploegsteert, in 1927; died 1936 Bristol); LRB Record, June 1936:

 

We regret to record the death of George Ellsworth Sydenham Fursdon which took place on 28th April following an operation. He was educated at Westminster where he was a sergeant in the O.T.C. and at Trinity College Cambridge where he was again a sergeant in the O.T.C. He joined the Regiment as 2/Lieut. in September 1914 and went to France with the First Battalion. He returned home wounded on March 2nd 1915, was promoted Lieut. in the same month and rejoined in July. In September he came home sick and was transferred to the Reserve in May 1916. Subsequently he was Assistant Recruiting Officer at Plymouth from November 1915 to June 1916, Sub‒Area Commander at Exeter from June 1916 to October 1917, and Recruiting Staff Officer to the Director of Recruiting, Bristol from November 1917 to December 1918.

 

After the war he was the representative of a large firm of chocolate manufacturers, and had charge of the whole South Western Area. His age was forty‒three and he leaves a widow.

 

Gardner, Arthur Frank

 

lrb 087 gardner

(Image courtesy of Stanley Gardner)

 

9637/300150 L/Corp; F/F LRB ranks 4.11.14‒20.2.19; (b.1896 Hackney; enlisted 16.10.13 ‘P’ Coy; lived Palmers Green; died 1969 Enfield Borough)

 

Garrish, Cyril Thomas

9643 2/Lieut; Not o/s in LRB ranks; Commissioned 14 York & Lancaster R; (b.1894 Camberwell; lived S E Dulwich; occ: clerk, shipping company; enlisted 1.11.13 ‘P’ Coy.)

 

Gibson, Alexander Daly

9742 Rfn; F/F LRB ranks 4.11.14‒5.5.15; DoW 5.3.15; age 18; commemorated Boulogne Eastern Cem. Pas de Calais III C 77; (b.1896 Putney, Surrey; enlisted 16.4.14 ‘P’ Coy; emp: Sun Fire Assurance Co; lived Norbiton, Surrey)

 

Gordon, Albert

9435 Sgt; F/F LRB ranks 4.11.14‒8.4.15; DCM, Mentioned in Despatches; commissioned LRB in the field 9.4.15 Transport Officer; (DCM as Transport Sergeant 2nd Ypres); A/Capt. 2.10.17; Lieut. 9.10.17; UK 17.10.17 for duty under Military Intelligence Directorate; rejoined 7.11.17 as QM; UK sick 1.5.18; France and posted 1/17 London R. 15.11.18; returned LRB 16.12.18‒14.4.19; demobilised 17.4.19; (ed: Brompton HG School; enlisted 17.10.12 ‘P’ Coy; lived Chelsea; in 1950 was a member of the Board of Directors of Parkinson & Cowan, Ltd. with the appointment of Group Administration Director; FCIS); DCM citation reads:

 

For consistent good work as Transport Sergeant, often under very difficult and dangerous circumstances.

 

Original recommendation in LRB Hons & Awards book – IWM:

 

For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty as Transport Sergeant during the Second Battle of Ypres.

 

Mentioned in Despatches citation reads:

 

Battalion Transport Officer. He has at all times proved himself most reliable and capable. During the Somme operations he never once failed the Battalion and always got his transport up with the rations and water under great difficulties and under trying circumstances.

 

Hands, Alfred Stanley

 

lrb 190 hands

(Image courtesy of Robert Chester and Stanley Gardner)

 

8921 Corp; F/F LRB ranks 4.11.14‒6.5.15; Commissioned 18 Middlesex R. 1.7.15; MC; Major; (b.1891 Stoke Newington; occ: sugar refinery clerk; enlisted 30.3.09 ‘P’ Coy; lived Westcliff on Sea, Essex; present at the unveiling of the London Rifle Brigade Memorial, London Rifle Brigade Cemetery, Ploegsteert 1927; died 1968 Southend on Sea Essex); MC T/Capt Middx R; London Gazette 16.9.18; Meteren 16.4.18; citation reads:

 

For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty. Under heavy machine gun fire at short range he organised a counter attack, and sent back a clear report of the situation. Throughout he set a fine example to his men.

 

Harding, Edward Boyer

 

lrb 084 harding left

(Image courtesy of Chris Rippingale)

 

9717/300175 A/Sgt; F/F LRB ranks 4.11.14‒1.5.15; Wounded April 1915 2nd Ypres; served 3/5 Bn. rest of the war; (b.1896 Battersea; enlisted 26.2.14 ‘P’ Coy; lived Ealing Common; emp: Sun Fire Assurance; rejoined LRB Feb. 1920 and from 1921 Pte. Calcutta Horse; died 1990 Uckfield, Sussex); LRB Record, Oct. 1927; extract from a letter from Harding:

 

I had quite a shock on July 25 last, when my afternoon labours were disturbed by a peon with a card bearing the name ‘Mr. F G Hancocks’ with the magic letters ‘L.R.B.’ pencilled below. To celebrate the occasion we had a little dinner at Firpo’s Restaurant on 28th at which there were present in addition to Hanco and myself, E F Menzies, B C Owers, R T Smith and also an old member recently discoverer here, E F Smith, who served in ‘E’ Company from early 1910 to early 1914, Regt. No. 9108; on the outbreak of war he went to the Middlesex and got a commission and served in Egypt, Indian and Mespot. The only other known LRB man in Calcutta, Chadbourne was unfortunately unable to attend. We had another little dinner party on the following Tuesday at Chang Wa’s in Chinatown, starting with the famous crab and asparagus soup, and carrying on mainly with prawns and oddments. The visitor left on 7th with a somewhat hobnailed liver grumbling about lack of exercise, and will have reached home safely by the time you get this, we hope.

 

Harris, Leon W

9617/300147 A/Corp; Not o/s in LRB ranks; Discharged under King’s Regulations 392 XVI 6.7.18, sick; Silver War Badge No. B93584; (b.1896 Islington; occ: junior clerk, cabinet maker; lived Holloway; enlisted 2.10.13 ‘P’ Coy; died 1938 Bromley, Kent)

 

Harvey, George Kenneth Chetwynd

8348/300025 A/Sgt; F/F LRB ranks 4.11.14‒18.5.17; Wounded 2nd Ypres, May 1‒3; UK 8.5.15‒13.1.17; wounded 18.5.17; DoW 13.6.17; Basford Hospital, Nottingham; commemorated Barking (Rippleside) Cem.D534; (b.1889 Gorleston, Suffolk; lived Ilford, Essex; enlisted 26.3.08 ‘P’ Coy; emp: widowed mother’s estate manager)

 

Hellyar, William Frank

9542 Rfn; F/F LRB ranks 4.11.14‒21.7.15; Commissioned ASC 21.7.15; later RFC (GL) 24 Wing; (b.1894 Wandsworth; enlisted 10.4.13 ‘P’ Coy; lived Clapham Common; present at the unveiling of the London Rifle Brigade Memorial, London Rifle Brigade Cemetery, Ploegsteert 1927; died 1970 Croydon)

 

Helsden, William George

9577/300133 A/L/Sgt; F/F LRB ranks 4.11.14‒26.8.18; Attached 56 Div 10.10.16‒1.12.16; 176 Coy RE 16.12.17‒19.1.18; 513 Employment Coy 23.2.18‒2.4.18; (enlisted 11.9.13 ‘P’ Coy; lived Walthamstow)

 

Hember, Hugh Victor

8838/300041 Sgt; F/F LRB ranks 4.11.14‒1.7.16; KIA 1.7.16; age 27; commemorated Thiepval Memorial Pier and Face 9 D; (b.1890 Islington; occ: wholesale warehouseman; enlisted 4.3.09 ‘P’ Coy; lived Tufnell Park; brother F S, No. 8837 joined same day but no service overseas with LRB; Probate 16.6.17, Estate £278 14s)

 

Henshaw, Stanley Thomas William, ‘Grannie’

 

lrb 450 henshaw

(Image courtesy of Paul Staples)

 

9807 A/CSM; F/F LRB ranks 4.11.14‒29.9.15; Commissioned Class 2 Staff Lieut. 29.9.15; Railway Transport Engineer; (b.1876; originally enlisted 1.11.1895 No. 6605; re-enlisted 5.8.14 ‘P’ Coy; City Imperial Vols. South Africa 1901‒2; emp: Sun Fire Assurance Co; lived Bedford Park; present at the unveiling of the London Rifle Brigade Memorial, London Rifle Brigade Cemetery, Ploegsteert 1927; died 1955 Lewes, Sussex)

 

Hinman, Charles Philip

9486 Rfn; F/F LRB ranks 4.11.14‒10.3.15; Commissioned 18 Middlesex R. 30.5.15; MC Major; Mentioned in Despatches London Gazette 24.5.18; (b.1891 Leytonstone; enlisted 16.1.13 ‘P’ Coy; lived Croydon; present at the unveiling of the London Rifle Brigade Memorial, London Rifle Brigade Cemetery, Ploegsteert 1927; died 1965 Gloucester)

 

Hobson, Frank Brittain

 

lrb 087 hobson

(Image courtesy of Stanley Gardner)

 

9705 Rfn; F/F LRB ranks 4.11.14‒20.11.15; Transferred 5 London Div Ammunition Column 9.5.16 No. 945263; (b.1896 Beverley, Yorks; enlisted 9.2.14 ‘P’ Coy; occ: clerk; lived Golders Green; post war Capt. III Field Brigade AFI Rangoon, Burma; died 1976 Yeovil, Somerset)

 

Hollis, Egerton Clark

 

lrb 088 Hollis

(Image courtesy of Stanley Gardner)

 

9799 Rfn.; F/F LRB ranks 4.11.14‒5.5.15; Commissioned 20 London R. 7.9.15; Lieut; Capt; (b.1887 Greenwich; originally enlisted 7.11.10 ‘P’ Coy. No. 9225; lived Blackheath; occ: bank clerk; re-enlisted 4.8.14 ‘P’ Coy; present at the unveiling of the London Rifle Brigade Memorial, London Rifle Brigade Cemetery, Ploegsteert 1927; died 1967 Eastbourne, Sussex)

 

Hose, Harold Victor

9688 Rfn; Discharged under para156 II TFR 2.9.14, medically unfit (b.1897 Camberwell; emp: clerk, Sun Fire Insurance Co; lived Catford; enlisted 8.1.14 ‘P’ Coy. with Henry Williamson, the author, a ‘Chybassa’ man; lived Hove, Sussex; died 1965 hospital Winchester, Hampshire;  Probate 26.1.66; Estate £9,094)

 

Hovenden, Albert

6737/300005 L/Corp; F/F LRB ranks 4.11.14‒19.1.15; (b.1874; enlisted 19.3.1896 ‘P’ Coy; occ. warehouseman; lived Croydon; present at the unveiling of the London Rifle Brigade Memorial, London Rifle Brigade Cemetery, Ploegsteert 1927; died 1945)

 

Hughes, Edward

 

lrb 450 hughes

(Image courtesy of Paul Staples)

 

7075 Sgt; F/F LRB ranks 4.11.14‒7.4.16; Discharged end of term of engagement 20.4.16; discharged under King’s Regulations 392 XVI 20.4.16, over age; Silver War Badge No. 68094 (b.1872 Camberwell; enlisted 19.5.1898 ‘P’ Coy; East Dulwich)

 

James, Sidney Frank

9251 Rfn; F/F LRB ranks 4.11.14‒28.6.15; Commissioned 17 KRRC 28.6.15; (b.1892 Lambeth; occ: drapery warehouseman; enlisted 9.2.11 ‘P’ Coy; lived Thornton Heath, Surrey)

 

Johnston, Hugh Liddon, ‘Johnner’

 

lrb 388 Johnner

(Image courtesy of John Frank)

 

1/5 Bn. to France 4.11.14‒16.6.16, wounded; Adjt. 14.5.15‒6.4.16; Lieut. 30.6.15; T/Capt. 29.4.15; Capt. 1.6.16; to France and posted 6 London 24.6.18‒8.2.19; A/Major 26.10.18–9.7.19; Hons: MC; (b.1889 Headington, Buckinghamshire; ed: Radley and Magdalen College, Oxford; 2/Lieut LRB 26.8.14; lived Wheatley, Oxfordshire; father was Principal of Cudedon Theological College, Oxon; present at the unveiling of the London Rifle Brigade Memorial, London Rifle Brigade Cemetery, Ploegsteert, in 1927); MC Lt. (T.Capt.) 3.6.16 Birthday Honours;

 

LRB Record, Oct. 1928, on his retirement as Chaplain:

 

Essentially a man of action, then as ever since, he always knew what wanted doing, and thanks to an excellent brand of self confidence, he generally got it done. And what did he do, (at Magdalen); Honour Mods; Greats; Soccer (was not Gerard Morrison the other College back?), O.T.C, cricket... Morrison joined the LRB while he was still at Magdalen; war and Johnner burst upon the Regiment together; and with the arrival of Trevelyan at Bisley the Magdelen contingent was raised to eight, Somers-Smith, MacGeagh and Cholmeley being with ‘Steinie’ already on the strength. Johnner was posted to ‘P’ Company under ’Smug’ and when the double company system was belatedly adopted he found himself under Burnell with Kirby and Large; there were indeed giants in those days. Johnner’s history in the first year of the war only differed from that of most officers, who by sheer determination, coupled with some good fortune, remained with the Regiment and survived, in that he soon became a man marked out for something important.

 

On 14 May, he succeeded Oppenheim as adjutant during 2nd Ypres; and, not without firmness and tact on his part, the 1st LRB came through the inertia of St. Omer, the reformation at Blendecques, the periods of boredom punctuated by moments of horror in and around the trenches of St. Eloi, the diversions and meanderings in the neighbourhood of Huppy, Magnicourt and St. Pol until on 6 May 1916 he handed over to Wallis the adjutancy of the finest battalion in the 56th Division. His MC commemorates this, and the Regimental History records ’Capt. Johnson was the first officer not a Regular to hold the appointment of Adjutant the 1st Battalion and as he had great power of organisation and capacity for hard work which he brought to bear on all the routine work in the Orderly Room, he proved as conspicuous a success there as he had been in the trenches.

 

Until he was wounded at Hebuterne on 16 June he commanded ‘C’ Coy., and it is no exaggeration to thank the bullet which sent him home for saving his life; for it is small odds that he would have fared better than his successor Bernard Harvey, who with more than four score of his Company perished on 1 July.’ ‘In the late summer Jonner joined the 3rd Battalion and ‘rendered invaluable help in all ways (says the History) so long as he stayed with the Battalion, and that was until June 1918 when he went to France again and was posted to the 6th Londons. What history he made with them cannot be told here, but he rejoined the 1st Battalion LRB in February 1919 and returned with the cadre to Bunhill Row on 31 May’.

 

Keeping, James Tempest

9845/300207 Rfn; F/F LRB ranks 4.11.14‒6.1.17; Commissioned 12 KRRC 29.5.17; MC; 2/Lieut; (b.1891 Stoke Newington; originally enlisted 23.2.09 ‘P’ Coy. No. 8717; re‒enlisted 5.8.14 ‘P’ Coy; occ: solicitor; lived Stoke Newington; died 1982 Bristol); MC T/2nd Lt att’d KRRC; London Gazette 19.11.17; E of Langemarck 23.9.17; citation reads:

 

For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty during an attack. He was in charge of a mopping up party, but when the officer in command of an assaulting party was killed he took command on his own initiative and led the assaulting party successfully in the attack.

 

Kirk, William Hubert

9576 Rfn; F/F LRB ranks 4.11.14‒3.5.15; UK 19.12.14 to 28.3.15; KIA 3.5.15; commemorated Menin Gate Memorial; (b.1895 Stoke Newington; enlisted 11.9.13 ‘P’ Coy; lived Stoke Newington)    

 

Klitz, Evelyn Anthony

9512 Rfn; F/F LRB ranks 4.11.14‒12.3.15; DoW 12.3.15; age 20; commemorated Wimereux Communal Cem. XII 3; (b.1894 Lymington, Hants; enlisted 17.2.13 ‘P’ Coy; lived S. Norwood; Brighton Marcher 18 April 1914)

 

Latham, Edward Bryan

9609 Rfn; F/F LRB ranks 4.11.14‒28.4.15; MM; 2nd Ypres 26.4.15; wounded 26.4.15; commissioned 17 London R. 8.9.15; later Indian Army; (b.1895 Walthamstow; enlisted 25.9.13 ‘P’ Coy; lived Buckhurst Hill; emp: family timber business; brother of Russell; author of the book A Territorial Soldier’s War; died 1980 Plymouth, Devon); MM 26.4.15 2nd Ypres; London Gazette 27.10.16; citation reads:

 

Who, in order to save the life of a man whose leg had to be amputated, on April 26th, 1915, helped to carry him back during the heaviest shelling.

 

Latham, Russell

 

lrb latham iwm

(HU65428, IWM)

 

9610 Rfn; F/F LRB ranks 4.11.14‒19.7.15; Commissioned ASC 19.7.15; MC; Capt; (b.1897 Walthamstow; enlisted 25.9.13 ‘P’ Coy; lived Buckhurst Hill; brother E B); MC T/Lt ASC; London Gazette 27.10.17; near Ypres 15.9.17; citation reads:

 

For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty when with a party conveying rations to a forward position. He succeeded in loading and unloading all the rations, working for five hours under heavy shell fire and while an ammunition dump thirty yards away from the ration dump was burning, causing frequent explosions. His cool behaviour was an excellent example to his men.

 

Littlewood, Harry

9579 Rfn; F/F LRB ranks 4.11.14‒13.3.15; Commissioned 8 Northampton R. 21.6.15; attached 7 Northampton R. and 2 Leics. R; (b.1895 Wandsworth; enlisted 11.9.13 ‘P’ Coy; lived Upminster, Essex; died 1975 Brighton, Sussex)

 

Lloyd, Leonard

9585/300136 Sgt; F/F LRB ranks 4.11.14‒1.7.16; KIA 1.7.16; commemorated Thiepval Memorial Pier and Face 9 D; (b.1896 Lambeth; enlisted 28.3.13 ‘P’ Coy; occ: commercial clerk; lived West Dulwich)

 

Lydall, Robert Francis ‘Bobby’

 

lrb 100 lydall

(Image courtesy of Chris Rippingale)

 

9690 L/Sgt; F/F LRB ranks 4.11.14‒22.1.16; Commissioned LRB 23.1.16; 1/5 Bn. to France 9.6.16‒7.7.16 wounded 1.7.16 shrapnel in back; Lieut. 24.7.17; joined 2/5 Bn. France 29.12.17‒29.1.18; posted 1/18 London R. 30.1.18‒24.3.18 wounded; 3/5 Bn. UK; Brigade Bombing Officer 1st London Reserve Brigade; (ed: Borough Polytechnic and South London College, Dulwich; enlisted 22.1.14 ‘P’ Coy; lived Dulwich; rejoined LRB post war; CSM ‘C’ Coy; present at the unveiling of the London Rifle Brigade Memorial, London Rifle Brigade Cemetery, Ploegsteert 1927‒ Guard of Honour; embodied CSM 1 LRB (7 Rifle Brigade) Sept. 1939, commissioned RE; Capt. 1940)

 

Martin, Kenneth Brandon

9452/300092 L/Corp; F/F LRB ranks 4.11.14‒9.9.17; UK 4.2.15‒8.7.17; KIA 9.9.17; age 24; commemorated New Irish Farm Cem. Ypres XXIV E 4; (b.1892 Wandsworth; occ: clerk, Church of England Society for waifs and strays; lived Wandsworth Common; enlisted 7.11.12 ‘P’ Coy.)

 

Martinnant, Leslie William

9543 Rfn; F/F LRB ranks 4.11.14‒11.12.15; Sick 16.11.14‒24.11.14 in hospital; (so not entitled to Aug.‒Nov.1914 clasp); gassed 2nd Ypres; 14.5.15‒6.6.15 hospital; Cadet School 10.11.15; commissioned 2 Rifle Brigade 12.12.15; MC Birthday Hons. 4.6.17; A/Capt 2 RB; Capt 1.7.17; relinquished commission 13.2.19; post war to Royal Navy and promoted to Instructor Commander; Lieut. RN 21.9.22; (b.1894 Lewisham; occ: insurance clerk; enlisted 10.4.13P’ Coy; lived Wimbledon; died 1981 Kerrick, Cornwall)

 

McLoughlin, Marshall Neal

9583/300135 Corp; F/F LRB ranks 4.11.14‒28.1.19; MM; transport driver; attached 7 Vet. Hospital 29.9.17‒25.2.18; (b.1897 Andover, Hampshire; enlisted 4.9.13 ‘P’ Coy; lived Russell Square; died 1943 Basingstoke, Hampshire); MM16.8.17 Polygon Wood; citation reads:

 

A transport driver. This rifleman was especially good when bringing rations up to the Battalion on the night August 15th‒16th, 1917. Under heavy shell‒fire he got his limber up, and, although he was hit, continued at his duty. It is due to his courage that rations were delivered to the Battalion in time to be issued before the attack.

 

Morgan, Edmund George Harder

9553/300125 Rfn; F/F LRB ranks 4.11.14‒30.6.16; Prisoner of War, 1.7.16 Gommecourt; (b.1895 Westminster; enlisted 1.5.13 ‘P’ Coy; lived Balham; died 1978 Torbay, Devon) Medal rolls do not record period in captivity

 

Moseley, Edward

9207 Rfn; Not o/s in LRB ranks; Posted 2/5 Bn. 31.10.14; transferred 101 Provisional Bn. 19.6.15; discharged under King’s Regulations 392 XVI 7.4.16, sick; Silver War Badge No. 97390; (b.1891 Leyton; lived Palmers Green; occ: accountants' clerk; enlisted 22.9.10 ‘P’ Coy)

 

Newman, Charles

9232/300057 Rfn; F/F LRB ranks 7.2.16‒11.11.18; 1/5 Bn; (enlisted 29.11.10 ‘P’ Coy)

 

Norris, William Wicks

9361 Rfn; Not o/s in LRB ranks; Discharged under paragraph 156 II TFR 7.9.14, medically unfit; Silver War Badge No. 95690; (b.1892 Islington; lived Kentish Town; occ: clerk to claims assessor; enlisted 25.1.12 ‘P’ Coy)

 

Ounsted, Laurence John

9524 L/Sgt; F/F LRB ranks 4.11.14‒6.10.15; Commissioned 2/20 London R. 7.10.15; (b.1893 Southwark; enlisted 13.3.13 ‘P’ Coy; emp: clerk, Sun Fire Assurance Co; lived Peckham; died 1979 Oxford)

 

Paine, Herbert Thomas

9560 Rfn; F/F LRB ranks 4.11.14‒4.5.15; Sick or wounded 2nd Ypres 1‒3 May 1915, No. 2 Coy; transferred 2/1 Hertford R. 5.11.16 No. 270676; transferred to 1/8 (Cyclists) Bn. Essex R. 4.8.17; then 25 London (Cyclists) R. No. 742586 on 3.1.18; (b.1892 Thornton Heath; emp: estimating clerk, G B Moore & Co. Dalston; enlisted 8.5.13 ‘P’ Coy; lived Dulwich; died 1959 Gosport, Hants.)

 

Paterson, Horace Gerald

9401/300084 Rfn; F/F LRB ranks 4.11.14‒29.12.17; (b.1890 Islington; enlisted 25.4.12 ‘P’ Coy; lived Highgate; occ: wine importers' clerk; present at the unveiling of the London Rifle Brigade Memorial, London Rifle Brigade Cemetery, Ploegsteert 1927; died 1989 Haringey)

 

Perolz, Norman Montague

9575 Rfn; F/F LRB ranks 4.11.14‒26.1.15; Commissioned 9 Bedford R. 5.7.15; (b.1893 Islington; enlisted 11.9.13 ‘P’ Coy; occ: bank clerk; lived Hornsea; died 1990 Luton, Bedfordshire)

 

Piggott, Alexander John

9611 Rfn; F/F LRB ranks 4.11.148.5.15; UK 9.12.14‒16.2.15; commissioned 10 East Surrey R. 25.8.15; later 23 London R; (b.1895 Kingston; enlisted 4.9.13 ‘P’ Coy; lived Kingston upon Thames; died 1967 Surrey)

 

Piggott, Eric Bernard Lewis

9554 Rfn; F/F LRB ranks 4.11.14‒3.5.15; Sick or wounded 2nd Ypres 1‒3 May 1915, No. 2 Coy; commissioned 15 Northumberland Fusiliers 28.12.15; MC; (b.1895 Beckenham; enlisted 1.5.13 ‘P’ Coy; lived Sutton Surrey; died 1974 Bridport, Dorset); MC London Gazette 16.9.18; Lieut. N’land Fus.; citation reads:

 

For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty throughout more than a week’s fighting. This officer held an exposed position on a flank for two days with great determination. Later, he took command, and reorganised the company when its commander became a casualty, and led it in a counter attack, ejecting the enemy from our front posts, which they had entered. His courage and example kept his company together. Armentières; Croix de Poperinghe 9/17.4.18

 

Pothecary, Walter Frank

 

lrb 373 pothecary

(Image courtesy of Stanley Gardner)

 

9338 Sgt; F/F LRB ranks 4.11.14‒16.4.15; DCM Feb. 1915; commissioned 3/5 Hampshire R. 16.4.15; (b.1882 Middle Wallop, Hampshire; enlisted 23.11.11 ‘P’ Coy; lived Wallington, Surrey; final stages of the Queen’s and King’s Prize 1913; LRB Record 1950: 'Major Walter Pothecary has recently retired from his position as Clerk to the Clothworkers’ Company, and has been elected a Warden of that Company. In WWII he commanded the Wallington Home Guard Company'; died 1958 Surrey); DCM citation reads:

 

For great gallantry and resource on several occasions in reconnoitring the enemy’s front near Le Gheer, and obtaining valuable information. On one occasion he crawled up to within ten yards of the German trench and investigated a supposed mine.

 

LRB Record, August 1923; Bt-Major W F Pothecary DCM.:

 

It is with very great regret that we have to chronicle the retirement of Major Pothecary from the active ranks of the LRB. His career in the Regiment has been second to none in its Estate and beneficial influence – most marked, perhaps on the Shooting side; and by his going we lose one to whom we could always look for the soundest of advice and one who, throughout his whole time in the Regiment, never for a moment lost the immense keenness which was his.

 

Major Pothecary joined the LRB in 1911 as a Rifleman. He was very quickly made Lance Corporal and Corporal, serving under Lt-Col. (then Captain) Burnell. His pre war service soon made him well known throughout the whole Battalion and, at the outbreak of War and the departure of the Battalion to Bisley for training, before proceeding overseas, it is safe to say that there was no more popular figure in the ranks than Sgt. Pothecary. Of his life in and around Ploegsteert Wood in the early days of the Battalion’s active experiences there are many tales which most adequately illustrate the man – and of these more anon – but is was by his utter and complete disregard of danger that most who knew him then will remember him. It was with perfect sincerity that he said, as he was leaving in the spring of 1915 to take up a commission in the Hampshire Regiment, ‘Well, I’ve had the best six months of my life!’ as those who heard him will testify.

 

When in the line at Plugstreet, ‘Walter’ as he was usually called, was to be found in the little cottage – or rather what once had been a cottage, on the left flank of the Battalion’s trench frontage. The revetting and sandbagging which his section carried out there was a revelation to the regular troops who lay next to us and even more of a revelation – in its example of what men really could be got to do – to their officers. He also had his own private barbed wire round the front side of this cottage – a fact which caused the member of the old Wiring Party, who happens to be writing this – to feel sorely aggrieved in that he apparently did not consider the protection afforded by the Party sufficient! Nothing was said, however, as the writer was far too frightened of Walter to do more than vociferously appreciate the skill with which the wiring had been carried out.

 

It was while occupying this part of the front that he shot a pheasant through the head with his rifle. Upon preparing to collect it from No-Man’s Land (where it had fallen) in broad daylight, he was, very naturally, advised to wait till dark. ‘Till dark!’ he replied ‘Even if someone else hasn’t pinched it by then, I shan’t be able to find it. I’m going to get it now.’ And he did! Again, it was only by physical force he was prevented from attempting to negotiate an unfordable sea of mud in full view of the enemy with a badly wounded man, who could not, and did not, live for more than an hour, on his back, in case there might be some remotest chance of saving his life. He would not have been able to do more than step into the mud and would there have been anchored, but that was, to him, quite a minor consideration.

 

The Commanding Officer, Lt-Col. A S Bates, tried very hard to keep him in the Regiment, but the Fates decide otherwise and he left – with a well merited D.C.M. – from Steenwerck to take up his commission. He was posted to Southampton where, again, his outstanding merits were quickly recognised and he was soon appointed Adjutant of his Battalion. Shortly after that, he was sent to Lyndhurst to supervise the digging of an extensive system of trenches for training purposes there, and it was then perhaps that his most important work of the war – and work that was destined to become of the greatest importance to the whole of the British Army – commenced. The system of trenches and training areas completed, ‘Walter’ founded and took over that great Bombing School which was to maintain the standard of knowledge both theoretical and practical, of this then new and important weapon and its tactical uses, at an unsurpassed level.

 

Under him the school was to grow apace. Its ramifications extended from Bombing pure and simple to the use of all kinds of trench weapons, mortars, gas bomb projectors, anti-gas devices, rifle grenades etc., etc. He never allowed himself to think that the first six months experience of warfare represented conditions for the rest of the War, but by frequent and periodical visits to the 1st Battalion LRB in France and Belgium he kept himself thoroughly abreast of all the myriad new methods of destruction which were so quickly evolved. On one of these visits he was badly gassed, to this day the effects thereof are, unhappily, still with him. It is not improbable that this result is in some measure due to the fact that, although incapacitated – or what would be incapacitated to anyone else – he absolutely refused to go sick.

 

There can be no doubt that at the end of the War he was one of the best known officers of the whole of the British Army. How many Officers and NCOs passed through his hands at Lyndhurst it would be unsafe to say, but there can be few whose duties brought them into touch with so many men as did Major Pothecary’s. One of these, a large and muscular officer from one of the Colonies found that Major Pothecary’s physical strength matched his moral force when he bet him he could not carry two full S.A.A. boxes one hundred yards in a certain time. They were carried there, but after thus winning the bet ‘Walter’ proceeded to carry them back without stopping.

 

Since the War, Major Pothecary has been one of the foremost in helping the reconstruction of the Regiment. His great organising ability which was markedly evident in the Lyndhurst Bombing School found its post bellum outlet in the reconstructed Regimental Shooting Committee, with the result that he very soon had the Regiment well on its way to re-affirming the exceedingly high promise given by its pre-war performances. ‘Primus in Urbe’ was never more our motto than on the ranges, and Major Pothecary saw to it, in a few short years, that we were once again in the front rank in this respect when in 1923 the LRB swept the Board at the T.A.R.A. meeting and Sgt. Ebbetts was returned as Champion Shot of the Territorial Army [Sgt. R F Ebbetts 6561268, original 2nd Battalion man; MM Gommecourt 1.7.16 with 1st Battalion].

 

Whatever tribute we may pay ‘Walter’ here, none could be more sincere or genuine, or more an appreciation of the work he has done, than an acknowledgement by his successor. We are glad to say that such an acknowledgement, in the form of a letter sent to us for publication, has been in our hands awaiting the appearance of this article for its incorporation therein; so we print it without further comment:‒

 

‘Being he who has stepped into the shoes so lately vacated by Major Pothecary in connection with the Shooting of the Regiment, I hope you will allow me to make public a tribute which I always felt was due to him – a fact of which I am doubly sure now that I am endeavouring to take the same size in shoes as he did. Personally I know very little of his pre war service – I only joined in 1914 May – although I am sure that it must be well worthy of mention. He was always keen on shooting and was I believe, his Company Shooting Secretary for some time. But, as regards his work as Shooting Secretary to the Regiment since the War, I feel that words can scarcely express the debt that the Regiment owes him. As his successor, I realise day by day, more and more, the sacrifices he must have made to carry out his work, and that, if any of the successes in Shooting for which we hope this year materialise, the Regiment will merely be picking the fruit from the trees which he, and Briggs, and Col. Bates planted, and so carefully tended. Clement Hall [another ‘Chyebassa’ man 9752 A/Sgt]

 

Such a man as this is remembered in many ways. Those with him in Ploegsteert will always see him as he appeared going up the line – or for that matter, when coming out of it. Laden, till his back was bent, with sacks and sandbags, which judging by the noise they made, contained only empty tins, he would stagger on until a halt was called, when he would promptly drop the lot. As it would take him very many minutes to collect them again when the column moved on, even in day time, the scenes of intense activity in his immediate neighbourhood when their re-assembling had to be done in the pouring rain of an exceedingly black night may best be imagined than described. The Hun must have heard ‘Walter’ being relieved for many miles. The fact he was a fanatical souvenir hunter may possibly give a clue to the contents of his burdens. He can always be recognised – as a fashion note might put it – by his attachment to the well-known haversack. Whenever possible he will carry any of these, and it is on rumour that he even appeared at a garden party wearing one. As however I have this only on the authority of one of his best friends in the Regiment the latter statement cannot be vouched for.

 

A man of generous impulses – never more generous where the Regiment, and especially the Shooting Committee, were concerned – slow to anger, quick to laughter; a man who had always an encouraging and never a disheartening effect on all around him; Major Pothecary goes from us as one whom we will hardly replace and as one whom we will ever honour. [Not attributed but probably written by John Stransom, the Editor of the LRB Record at this time, who was in charge of a wiring party during Ploegsteert days – for which he, Stransom, was awarded the DCM.]

 

Rainey, Clifford Harden

9801 Rfn; F/F LRB ranks 4.11.14‒13.5.15; Commissioned 9 East Kent R. 19.9.15; (b.1889 Sydenham, Kent; originally enlisted 19.2.09 ‘P’ Coy. No. 8645; occ: insurance clerk; lived Sydenham; re-enlisted 4.8.14 ‘P’ Coy)

 

Ramsay, Owen Gustave

9656 Rfn; Not o/s in LRB ranks; To 2/5 Bn. 31.10.14; transferred 101 Provisional Bn. 19.6.15; discharged 25.8.16, subject to provisions of the Military Service Act (section II) 1916; (b.1893 Camberwell; occ: artistic designer; lived E Dulwich; enlisted 13.11.13 ‘P’ Coy; died 1967 Lewisham Borough)

 

Richardson, Geoffrey Oliver

9582 Rfn; F/F LRB ranks 4.11.14‒2.8.15; Commissioned 4 Essex R. 11.8.15; posted 1/4 Essex R; KIA 26.3.17; 2/Lieut; commemorated Gaza War Cem. Palestine; (b.1896 Hackney; enlisted 4.9.13‘P’ Coy; lived Buckhurst Hill)

 

Ring, Melville John

 

lrb 450 ring

(Image courtesy of Paul Staples)

 

8223 Sgt; F/F LRB ranks 4.11.14‒3.5.15; KIA 3.5.15; age 28; commemorated Menin Gate Memorial; (b.1886 Dulwich; enlisted 1.3.06 ‘P’ Coy; occ: commercial traveller, drapery; lived Woodside Park)

 

Robbins, Gilbert Arthur

9900/300223 Rfn; F/F LRB ranks 4.11.14‒1.7.16; KIA 1.7.16; age 25; commemorated Thiepval Memorial Pier and Face 9 D; (b.1892 Chippenham Wiltshire; occ: insurance clerk; originally enlisted 15.2.09 ‘P’ Coy. No. 8508; address Threadneedle St; lived Camberwell; re-enlisted 6.8.14 ‘G’ Coy)

 

Rowland, R H

8345 Capt; Not o/s in LRB ranks; Commissioned 8 Royal W Surrey R; Mentioned in Despatches; (enlisted 14.3.08 ‘P’ Coy)

 

Sanders, Tom

9503 Rfn; F/F LRB ranks 4.11.14‒12.1.15; KIA 12.1.15; age 23; commemorated London Rifle Brigade Cem. Ploegsteert III A 5; (b.1893 Stoke Newington; enlisted 6.2.13 ‘P’ Coy; occ: office clerk; lived Palmers Green)

 

Sargeant, B F

9550 Rfn; Subscription register October 1914 only military ref; (enlisted 28.4.13 ‘P’ Coy)

 

Sharman, Charles Victor

9349 L/Corp; F/F LRB ranks 4.11.14‒3.5.15; Commissioned 2/10 Middlesex R. 28.7.15; (b.1894 West Ham; enlisted 18.1.12 ‘P’ Coy; lived Leytonstone; occ: law clerk; died 1991 Redbridge Borough)

 

Sissons, Harry Keeble

9654/300158 A/Corp; F/F LRB ranks 4.11.14‒14.2.19; (b.1894 St Pancras; enlisted 13.11.13 ‘P’ Coy; occ: clerk, artists colourman; died 1955 Colchester, Essex)

 

Skuse, Douglas Edward Harry

9700 Rfn; F/F LRB ranks 4.11.14‒5.2.15; Wounded 2nd Ypres, April 26‒May 1, No. 2 Coy; commissioned 8 Rifle Brigade 5.12.15; (b.1895 Paddington; occ: shipping agents' clerk; enlisted 25.2.14 ‘P’ Coy; lived Clapham)

 

Somers-Smith, John Robert, ‘Smug’

 

lrb somers smith

(Image courtesy of Chris Rippingale)

 

1/5 Bn. to France 4.11.14‒3.6.15, invalided; served with 3/5 Bn. June‒Oct. 1915; rejoined 1/5 Bn. 24 Oct 15; KIA 1.7.16 at Gommecourt; commemorated Thiepval Memorial Pier and Face 9D; Hons: MC, Mentioned in Despatches; (b.1881; ed: Eton and Magdalen College, Oxford; 2/Lieut. 1908; Lieut. 1913; Capt. 9.6.14; Olympic and Stewards’ (record-rowing) 1908); MC London Gazette 14.1.16 New Years Hons; De Ruvigny’s Roll of Honour:

 

Second son of Robert Vernon Somers-Smith and his wife Gertrude; born Hersham, Surrey 15.12.1887; at Eton Captain of boats, winner of many rowing trophies; 2/Lieut. 1906; Capt. 9.6.14; KIA in the enemy’s trenches at Gommecourt, senior LRB officer in the attack; Mentioned in Despatches in Field Marshal John French’s despatch 1.1.16, awarded MC 13.5.15 for services at the second battle of Ypres.

 

His Colonel wrote: ‘He was a perfect officer. Absolutely fearless, he was loved by his men who would have followed him anywhere.’ Lieut. Belcher V.C. late sergeant of his Company: ‘In my opinion he was the best Captain the LRB ever had, and all ‘B’ Coy. thought so too.’ A fellow officer also wrote: ‘I went through the second battle of Ypres practically hand in hand with him and knew what sort of man he was in the most appalling and terrible engagements – he was great.’

 

He married at St. Peter’s Church, Hersham 25 July 1914, Marjorie, one child Henry Cecil Willingdon, born 5 May 1915.

 

Stains, Cyril Robert

9541/300122 Rfn. F/F LRB ranks 4.11.14‒23.5.15; Shrapnel wounds legs & forearm 3.5.15 2nd Ypres; discharged under King’s Regulations 392 XVI 17.8.17, wounds; Silver War Badge No. 230330; (b.1895 Wimbledon; emp: insurance clerk, Gresham Life; enlisted 10.4.13 ‘P’ Coy; lived Raynes Park, Surrey; died 1969 Eastbourne, Sussex)

 

Stannard, John Arnold

9642 Rfn; F/F LRB ranks 4.11.14‒13.5.15; Commissioned 5 Hampshire R. 4.9.16; MC; Lieut; attached 6 Hampshire R; DoW 23.4.18; commemorated Lapugnoy Mil. Cem; (enlisted 1.11.13 ‘P’ Coy; lived Golders Green; emp: Sun Fire Assurance Co.); MC 2nd Lt Hamps R; London Gazette 19.11.17; north of Poelcappelle 4.10.17; citation reads:

 

For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty. When the enemy counter attacked and forced back the troops on his flank, he rallied them, led them forward, and restored the position. It was largely due to his initiative and leading that the counter attack was beaten off.

 

Stoltenhoff, Arthur Maurice; changed name to Humby

9675 Rfn; Not o/s in LRB ranks; Transferred 2/23 London R. Nos. 5745/702512 Sgt; France 26.6.16‒3.12.16; Salonika 1.12.16‒17.6.17; Egypt 19.6.17‒21.12.17; commissioned Essex R att’d Beford R; commissioned IA (Res. Offs.) 24.9.18; (b.1886 West Ham; occ: radio engineer; lived Twickenham Park; enlisted 11.12.13 ‘P’ Coy; died 1981 Chesham Bois, Bucks; Probate 2.4.81, Estate £29,513)

 

Styles, George Edgar

1127 L/Sgt; F/F LRB ranks 4.11.14‒9.12.14; GSW leg 4.12.14; discharged under King’s Regulations 392 XVI 8.7.16, wounds; Silver War Badge No. 97382; (b.1886 Brixton; occ: lace traveller; originally enlisted 11.2.09 ‘P’ Coy. No. 8464; lived Brixton; re-enlisted 13.10.14 2/5 Bn; died 1936 Southend on Sea, Essex)

 

Tonkin, Richard Bradley

9561/300128 L/Sgt; F/F LRB ranks 4.11.14‒25.2.17; Commissioned 13 Essex R. 25.2.17; later MGC; (b.1893 Brixton; occ: insurance clerk; enlisted 8.5.13 ‘P’ Coy; lived Streatham; died 1950 Folkestone, Kent)

 

Upton, R

8474 2/Lieut; Not o/s in LRB ranks; Commissioned 25 London R; Lieut. att’d 15 London R. overseas; (enlisted 11.2.09 ‘P’ Coy)

 

Ward, Francis

8469 Corp; F/F LRB ranks 4.11.14‒29.12.14; Commissioned Scots Guards 4.5.15; MC and Mentioned in Despatches and French Croix de Guerre; MC London Gazette 3.6.19; Mentioned in Despatches London Gazette 4.1.17; French Croix de Guerre London Gazette 14.7.17; (b.1890 Chelsea; enlisted 5.2.09 ‘P’ Coy; occ: journalist; lived Kensington; Brighton Marcher 18 April 1914)

 

Warwick, Walter George

 

lrb 157 warwick

(Image courtesy of David Bull)

 

8412 Sgt; F/F LRB ranks 4.11.14‒27.12.15; Commissioned 3/18 London R. 28.12.15; (b.1889 Willesden; enlisted 8.1.09; ‘P’ Coy; lived Kilburn; emp: Sun Fire Assurance Co; married Marjorie M W Harris 1 June 1918; present at the unveiling of the London Rifle Brigade Memorial, London Rifle Brigade Cemetery, Ploegsteert 1927; died 1960 Reading, Berks)

 

Waters, Harold, ‘Spout’

9402/300085 Rfn; F/F LRB ranks 4.11.14‒29.12.18; (enlisted 25.4.12 ‘P’ Coy; lived Leytonstone, Essex)

 

Wayland, Stanley Henry

9403 Rfn; Not o/s in LRB ranks; To 2/5 Bn. 31.10.14; posted 101 Provisional Bn; posted 3/5 Bn. 28.3.16; transferred 23 London R. No. 5280; France 26.6.16‒3.12.16 A/Sgt; Salonika 14.12.16‒15.6.17; Egypt 18.6.17 No. 702098; wounded 28.3.18; DoW 29.3.18 age 26, EEF; commemorated Damascus Commonwealth War Cem. C 37; (b.1896 Hackney; occ: solicitors' clerk; lived Leytonstone; enlisted 25.4.12 ‘P’ Coy)

 

Wheatley, Richard George

 

lrb 373 wheatley

(Image courtesy of Stanley Gardner)

 

9586 L/Corp; F/F LRB ranks 4.11.14‒5.5.15; Commissioned Royal West Sussex R. 22.9.15; later Tank Corps; (b.1890 Brondesbury; lived West Hampstead; enlisted 4.9.13 ‘P’ Coy; emigrated Canada post war, worked Canadian National Railways; died 1970 Hendon, Middlesex)

 

White, Edward George

9350 Rfn; F/F LRB ranks 4.11.14‒7.5.15; Wounded 3.4.15 shrapnel in thighs; discharged under King’s Regulations 392 XVI 24.9.16, wounds, Silver War Badge No. 15967; (b.1894 Plymouth; occ: merchants' clerk; enlisted 18.1.12 ‘P’ Coy; lived Leytonstone)

 

Williamson, Henry William

 

lrb jan15thumb

(Image courtesy of HW Literary Estate)

 

9689 Rfn; F/F LRB ranks 4.11.14‒26.1.15; Commissioned 10 Bedford R. 9.4.15; transferred MGC; Lieut. Oct. 1916; (b.1895 Brockley; ed: Colfes Grammar School; enlisted 8.1.14 ‘P’ Coy; lived Brockley; occ: clerk, Sun Fire Insurance Office; post war, very briefly reporter Weekly Despatch before becoming a writer. This is the author best known for his book Tarka the Otter 1927; and the fifteen-volume epic A Chronicle of Ancient Sunlight, five volumes of which cover the Great War.)

 

Willmott, Herbert Edwin

9065 Rfn; F/F LRB ranks 4.11.14‒6.5.15; Discharged end of term of engagement 1.12.15; (enlisted 21.10.09 ‘P‘ Coy; lived Beckenham)

 

Woollacott, Francis Hugh Claude

9508 Rfn; F/F LRB ranks 4.11.14‒20.7.15; Commissioned ASC 20.7.15; (b.1894 Balham; occ: insurance clerk; enlisted 13.2.13 ‘P’ Coy; lived Wandsworth Common; died 1965 Greenwich)

 

 

*************************

 

 

 

This comprehensive listing has been researched and compiled by Chris Rippingale, and we are grateful to him for allowing us to use it as a part of this website.

 

(List © Chris Rippingale 2016)

 

 

 

 

Back to 'Henry Williamson and the London Rifle Brigade, 1914–1915'

 

Back to 'Henry Williamson and the First World War'

 

 

 

           

Shopping Cart


 x 

Cart empty