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Who amongst your researchees would you wish to meet?


Kate Wills
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Whether you are researching the names on the local memorial, the men of a particular unit, or family members, I think we all develop a special bond with one man.

For me it is Eddie Dillon, a corporal in the RAMC who was commissioned into the RFC and died in a training accident over Norfolk whilst serving as an instructor. Eddie was described by surviving comrades in 85th Field Ambulance of 28th Division as "that fine fellow", and seemed to be a man who inspired discipline with a smile. I get the impression that he was fair, assiduous and companionable both on and off duty, and someone who seemed to give his best to work and play. He was a leading light, indeed leading 'lady' of 85th FA famed pantomimes in Salonika, which is how I come to be researching him.

Most of my researchees survived, so perhaps Eddie has won a special place in my heart because he was genial soul whose spirit was extinguished.

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Hi Kate,

Thats an interesting idea for a thread! I would love to chat to my Great Uncle George again, I didn't appreciate him as a child, and the fact that he served during both World Wars.... But my favourite ever lookup, for Chris, and I reckon I must of done a few hundred over the years, was a soldier called James Gledhill. Luckily I did manage to visit his grave in September, and his grave is the background for my mobile, so I think of him quite a few times each day!

Alie.

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Kate

I know this'll come as no surprise to you (or, indeed, to Alie who helped immensely) - but it's Thomas Roughton Worthington from Cheadle, Cheshire.

He was one of my original Stockport area researchees and the first I found uncommemorated by CWGC. It was a long struggle to get him commemorated which, in the latter stages, culminated in contact with his descendents and them sending me a photo of him. Some while later, I was able to reciprocate by sending them a copy of his new inscription on the Helles Memorial, taken by a CWGC employee. His story is here and I often wonder what he would have added to it himself.

John

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My great uncle Capitaine Marcel Verzieux, French Engineers. Decorated and wounded at Verdun June 1916.

I haven't seen him since 1962, and we weren't on speaking terms (my French is much better now).

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I'd like to meet my Great Grandfather (Alf Coole - see my sig). I've done a lot of family tree research and his side of the family (my paternal grandmother's side) has a lot of "history" and all local to Bristol. If I ever met Alf I'd make sure his will was clear in that the house they had went to my Grandmother on her 21st birthday.... yet his wife, who the family hated, kept the house until the 1950's!!

Alf was a character. He served in the RN from the 1880's 'til 1910 and was recalled in August 1914. Unfortunately he was dicharged in Feb 1915 due to ill health and died a few months later of a "diabetic coma". During his stint in the Navy he was promoted, demoted and promoted again. Finished as CPO Stoker 1st Class. Missed out on his LSGC due to being a naughty boy! The family story goes that he freed up an anchor that had got lodged on the sea bed, but as his diving qualification had "lapsed" he was told to leave it. As no one else was around that was qualified, he ignored the order and jumped right in.... and saved the ship thus the ticking off and loss of LSGC entitlement.

Actually, one other thing I would ask is what happened to his 15 Star & BWM?!?!? I've got the Victory Medal but it has the BWM ribbon.

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There are two men I'd love to meet and talk to, for different reaons:

The first, is great uncle Frederick James Desmond of the 1st City of London Regiment - Royal Fusiliers. He died in Oct 1916 on the Somme. I knew I had an uncle who died in WW1 and that was about it. As a family historian, he sent me on a journey to tell his story, which to some extent I am still doing. Armed with just a MIC it hasn't been easy ...

The other is great uncle Thomas Hartas of the West Riding Regiment. He and I share a birthday and I've always felt an attachment to him and went out on a limb to find out about his life, before I attempted his military history. He was wounded and gassed in WW1 and sadly died at the outbreak of WW2. I'm also still trying to research him ...

Dianne

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I would love to have known my Great Uncle after who I was named SERJEANT RICHARD DAVID SCOTT 7751 of the 8th Battalion The Scots Fusiliers who died on 11th of July 1916 and is buried in Salonika. My grandma said he was like me, I wonder!!!

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I would want to meet Sidney Arthur Parkington, quoted below, and ask him why he enlisted? And why choose the Royal Welsh Fusiliers? To follow a work mate? Any Welsh connection? Or was it just the batallion that the recruiters needed to fill up?

Still, the information I have found on him is more than what I have found many of the medal recipients in my collection. Anything that keeps there memory more alive is always interesting to find.

/Lars

b]22193 Pte Sidney Arthur Parkington, 15th RWF (1st London Welsh)[/b]

Born Stanton, Bury St Edmonds, Suffolk. Born towards the end of 1875.

In the 1881 census Sydney lives with his father William and mother Elizabeth at Turnpike Road Mill House, where William was a “Corn Milliner, Master”. In 1891 William is a millers man, living at 11,The Common in Southwold. Sidney, now 15 is a grocers assistant. The 1901 census finds him living as a lodger, occupation carman, with colleague Henry F Mills and family at 4, Woodland Drive, Tottenham. His mother is at this time living with Sidneys brother Edwards family, also in Tottenham at 130 Beresford road. Edward, who was a baker, had a son called Sidney E, born in 1898, who also served in WWI as Pte M/305621 in the RASC, earning a pair..

Sidney Arthur married 18 year old Barbara Agnes Goodright in 1912. They had two children, Winifred L born in 1912 and Stanley A, born in 1914.

He enlisted in Holborn, London. .

The battalion went to France in November 1915 and served for the first time at the front in december 1915 near La Basse and Richebourg L’avoue.

One of the officers in the 15th RWF was Wyn Griffith, author of the book “Up to Mametz". On page 80, the 1981 edition, he describes the circumstances when Pte Parkington, serving in his company, "C", was killed on 11/1/1916:

He is buried in St Vaast Post Military Cemetery, an original cemetery started near a Dressing Station.

“On the other side of Aubers ridge a german gunner twirled a few wheels into a new position, moved a bar of iron and sent death soaring into the air; he went to his dinner. While he was moving his wheels and dials, three Londoners were filling sandbags in a ditch on the plain, arguing about Tottenham Hotspurs. A flash, a noise, and a cloud of smoke. "Blast’em, they’ve killed old Parkinson – blown ‘is ‘ead off, they ‘ave, the ********.

Blast whom? The unseen German, going to his dinner? No. Blast everybody and everything, blast all who contributed to the sending of this quiet, middleaged Londoner to die in a ditch, in no combat between men, but in a struggle between two sets of mathemathical equations. Did we think out this bitter problem, or discuss the ways of bringing an end to this distemper? No, we were to tired. Blast them, and back to the weary lifting of mud., this time passing a stretcher covered with a blanket hiding all but a thin trickle of blood. Four children, and his wife’s name was ‘Liz’-.. must write to her tonight… Oh, blast them!"

Below an excerpt from De Ruvigny's roll of honour, where Wyn Griffiths letter to the wife is quoted.

(If I managed the file attachment)

post-22369-1230400553.jpg

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I think the man i think of most is Pte Angus McPhee, my wife's great uncle.He was the first man i started to research after seeing a photograph of him.Have found out quite a bit about him, and he didn't have it easy. He died of wounds after a particularly sustained period of fighting nr Roeux. Was chuffed to find his full service history on 11th Nov.

Sad thing is his unit were about to be relieved and some had already left the front line when the Germans attacked .

Don't know whether he died in the bombardment, or in one of the bayonet charges, 21 yrs of age.

Mike

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There are so many I'd like to meet.

J R Moston aka JR Haywood who joined at 16, died at 19 of the MGC.

Emyr Thomas who joined the RNDiv, served in three other units and died in an air crash as a Fl Lt age 26.

Thomas Jones 'Twm MM' of the SWBs who refused to shake the Prince of Wales's hand c1922 in a protest at the veterans' living conditions.

The Ellis Familly of 2 Prior St who lost two sons within a month, and two others being double amputees.

George Ellis and John Roberts, neighbours at 56+58 Mwrog St who both joined RWF at 15 and were killed at Mametz Wood the same instant, both age 17.

Two great uncles - one from my mother's side, the other my fathers'. One in the Welch R the other RWF. Both died at Mametz Wood. I wonder if they ever met, and how they would feel if they both knew that forty years later, their families would be joined, and I a product of that union.

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Good question Kate. My grandfather, Charles Fair, 1/19th London Regiment. He died 16 years before I was born. Second would be my great uncle, Reggie Secretan, 1/1 Hertfordshires, killed in action 31/7/1917, aged 22, because he seems like a gregarious fun loving chap. Fortunately I feel I have come to know them, and others who served from my family, a little through their surviving letters.

There are heaps of officers and men from the 19th Londons I'd like to meet, in particular A/RSM Arthur Ridout killed 15/9/1916 and buried at London Cemetery, Longueval. Another would be the Padre, David Railton.

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Kate

I would dearly liked to have met my great-uncle, Pte Charles Herbert William Pearce, 7th Bn Glos Regt, killed in action near Kut on 10th February 1917.

His family placed a memorium notice in the local press in April 1918:

Pearce - In ever loving memory of Pte Charles Herbert Willy Pearce, Glos Regt. Dearly beloved son of Joseph and Salbrah Pearce, killed in action in Mesopotamia on February 10th 1917, aged 27 years.

The call was short, the shock severe

To part with one we loved so dear

His gentle voice his smiling face

No one on Earth can fill his place

From his sorrowing Father, Mother, Sisters, Frank and Harry

Cuts me up every time I read it.

Regards

Jimmy

post-1360-1230413630.jpg

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I would love to speak with my Grandfather. He died in 1974 before I was born. He served in both WW1 & 2 and according to my Dad he could be a fun loving silly fellow. I don't know how seeing that he went through all that hellish stuff. I'd love to ask him how he did it. This is him in 1940 being silly at a photo place in London England.

Stephen

post-14344-1230420041.jpg

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Hi Kate,

apart from my relatives (casualties in signature) and the others that survived I would like to meet Harry Oakley (also in signature). Harry was a pre-war soldier and was a survivor of Le Cateau from the 2/Suffolks. His trio is a constant reminder of him and his service. If one had time they would be all fascinating to meet.

Cheers,

David

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I wonder if I can tweak Kate's original request and ask that people choose two people they would love to meet. So many people have chosen family and it would be nice to ask for two people, one from a family background (if appropriate) and one not a relative.

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I would like to shake every single man that I researched by the hand, however for me there are two men that I would have loved to have met, my Grandad and namesake who died before I was born, and my Great Uncle Charlie who was killed in 1918. I know it's out of topic but I would have loved to have met my Grandad Michael, he was killed down the pit in WW2 aged 35, so I never met either of my Grandad's.

John

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I think it would have to be Fred Greaves VC (my Avatar). Although I would have loved to have been with the men of 9th Sherwood Foresters on the way from Liverpool to Gallipoli in 1915.

I am in touch with Fred's daughter and from what she has told me, I think we would have got on really well.

maybe we will meet in another life :rolleyes:

sm

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Someone who's unrelated that I would've loved to have met would have to be L/Sgt. Luther Llewellyn Bailey MM, 12th Notts & Derby. He was the first man from my home town to receive a decoration for gallantry during the Great War and his letters reveal him to have been quite a character. Sadly, he was killed on 27th March 1918.

I wrote a short piece about him for the local newspaper (back in 1993) and around that time the CWGC corrected his commemoration on the Pozieres Memorial; it didn't include his full name or the fact that he had won the MM. His story had been lost to the family and, through that article, I was able to meet them. It sounds silly but I almost feel as if I did know the man.

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I should like most of all to have met Arthur Roberts, the grandfather I never knew, who died some 10 years before I was born. He was in his thirties when conscripted, and soon after enrolment into the ASC was transferred into the Dukes on 23/9/17. He survived the war, but apart from bare dates I know little of him. I can't even be confident about his WR battalion as his medals are on the ASC rolls and are not specific.

It would have been good to meet my father's cousin Henry, who joined the first Bradford Pals in 1914, lying about his age, who eventually earned a commission and won the MC in the dying days of the war, and even more interesting probably would have been the experiences of the husband of my mother's cousin, George William Senior, who apparently travelled from Bradford to Scotland to join the Royal Scots, and was wounded, shell shocked, and then captured by the Germans in 1918, returning, minus a finger and his confidence to his pre-war employment in 1919. I remember him from my childhood, but was too young to appreciate his experiences. He would have had quite a tale to tell, if only he had been willing to tell it.

Keith

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Kate

I know this'll come as no surprise to you (or, indeed, to Alie who helped immensely) - but it's Thomas Roughton Worthington from Cheadle, Cheshire.

Hey John,

I think I knew this too... the 'one' that kept you awake at night!! I was happy to get his MR for you... though must of been a few years ago now chuck!!

Interesting thread!

Alie.

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Out of all those I've researched, I think that, though he's not really of WW1 interest, my own grandad (in signature) would have to be the one I'd have most liked to have met. By all accounts , he was a great guy and a real character.

Not related to me, it'd have to be either Pte. Tom Skelly of the ELR (KIA Nov 1914), or L/Cpl.Fred Latham (the one person I've researched and followed nearly every single step of his life - both on paper and on the actual ground - from birth to death) of the 11/Manchesters (KIA June 1917). Both of these have an extremely strange range of co-incidences that tie me to them. :ph34r:

dave.

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Hi Kate

Great thread. I visit Ypres and the Somme a couple of times each year since 1987 and each time in November I place a poppy on the grave of a randomly selected unknown soldier from a far off continent in the expectation that no one ever visits him. It is one of those unknown and perhaps never visited i would most like to meet and say thank you and reassure him it was worth the sacrifice he gave.

Your thread is very thought provoking - Going soft aren't I?

Happy New Year all

Nigel

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Hello Kate

Family member I would really loved to have met is my Grandfather. He served briefly with the Duke of Cornwall's Light Infantry 1914/1915 and was discharged with heart problem.

Not to be deterred he joined the RNAS, eventually transferring to the RAF 1st April 1918. Signing up for a 10 year stint he went on to serve with No 47 Squadron RAF, South Russia 1919/1920. As a consequence of his war service with "C" Flight, 47 Squadron, he was admitted to the 21st Stationery Hospital (21 March 1920) and thence, on 29 March 1920, to the 82nd General Hospital, Feneraki. Upon arrival in England he was admitted to Cambridge Military Hospital, Aldershot. Received the maximum pension for war service and was honourably discharged 11 August 1920. My father says that his father would never discuss his war service other than to say he served with the RAF in Russia. One cannot help but wonder what it really was like out there.

Second choice would have to be Major Raymond Collishaw (later AVM Collishaw). A distinguished career in the RNAS and RAF. Would very much liked to have discussed, first hand, his career and 47 Squadron in particular. Several other officers (of "C" Flight) would equally qualify:- Anderson, Frogley, Elliot, Greenslade, Hatchett, Mercer, Mitchell, Simmons.

The large framed photograph of the Officers and Other Ranks of 47 Squadron's "C" Flight, which hangs in my living room, is a constant reminder.

Regards

Rob

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Firstly I'd like to meet my Great Uncle Harry Ingram (see signature). So many questions I have for him. Secondly Adrian Carlton de Wiart - I'd like to try & find out what makes a man like him tick.

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