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Royal West Kents - A/Sgt W A Goodrick d. 12.12.14


dchapman
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Hello - I'm a new subscriber, researching my great-uncle who was KiA on 12.12.14. William was acting Sergeant who entered the theatre on 19 Sept according to his MIC, which matches with the fact he re-joined his Regiment in August 1914. He spent the previous 2 years in the Essex police and is commemorated on their website and the St Osyth memorial, and at the Menin Gate. I'd appreciate some help on the following items mainly, but any info is gratefully received.

First, I'd like to try to find out when he originally signed up for the RWK's, culminating in his leaving in 1912. Is there anywhere I can find a service record for that period, even just dates? (Sorry if that's considered off-topic)

Second, the Regimental War Diary lists 2 men of A Coy as having died (plus 4 injuries) on 12th Dec, before the regiment was relieved the next day. I assume he was one of the two. Family lore has it (!) that he was killed by sniper fire, and the record makes no mention of shelling or other action, so that's a possible match. Is there any information available, such as who the other casualty was, and the exact location of (A Company's) trenches relative to Wulverghem, and the billets relative to Dranoutre? Is it plausible for a victim of sniper fire not to have a grave? Is that common?

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His service number (L/7769) is a July 1904 number. I assume he signed on for 7 years with the Colours and 5 in Reserve. I know from about 1912/13 the 1st Bn were in Ireland but cant think where they were before that without refering back to the History which is at home, but if Overseas (ie. India) then quite possibly that would explain the additional year's service to 1912 discharge. Alternatively he signed up for 12 years with the Colours and then bought himself out in 1912.

I have three 1st Bn men died on 12 Dec 1914. The other two being Argent and Raven - again as I am not at home and without my SDGW reference, I cannot tell you whether these men were kia or dow.

I have copies of some of the early 1st Bn War Diary at home and think I have appendices as well. There might be something amongst the copies that gives a map reference as to where they were at this period. I think I am right in saying that at this stage few trenches had names and trenches would have been identified by numbers - happy to be told I am wrong on this.

Do you have a photo of him?

Regards,

Jonathan S

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SDGW Ancestry version -

Name: William Goodrick

Birth Place: Little Thurrock, Grays

Residence: Gravesend, Kent

Death Date: 12 Dec 1914

Rank: A/Sergeant

Regiment: Queen's Own (Royal West Kent Regiment)

Battalion: 1st Battalion.

Number: L/7769

Type of Casualty: Killed in action

Theater of War: Aldershot

John

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Name: RAVEN, HENRY GEORGE

Initials: H G

Nationality: United Kingdom

Rank: Private

Regiment/Service: Queen's Own (Royal West Kent Regiment)

Unit Text: 1st Bn.

Date of Death: 12/12/1914

Service No: L/7894

Casualty Type: Commonwealth War Dead

Grave/Memorial Reference: Panel 45 and 47.

Memorial: YPRES (MENIN GATE) MEMORIAL

Name: Henry George Raven

Birth Place: Northfleet, Kent

Residence: Maidstone, Kent

Death Date: 12 Dec 1914

Rank: Private

Regiment: Queen's Own (Royal West Kent Regiment)

Battalion: 1st Battalion.

Number: L/7894

Type of Casualty: Killed in action

Regards

Mel

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This one is also recorded as KIA !

Name: ARGENT, JAMES ERNEST

Initials: J E

Nationality: United Kingdom

Rank: Private

Regiment/Service: Queen's Own (Royal West Kent Regiment)

Unit Text: 1st Bn.

Date of Death: 12/12/1914

Service No: L/5498

Casualty Type: Commonwealth War Dead

Grave/Memorial Reference: Panel 45 and 47.

Memorial: YPRES (MENIN GATE) MEMORIAL

Name: James Ernest Argent

Birth Place: High Ongar, Essex

Residence: Woolwich, Kent

Death Date: 12 Dec 1914

Rank: Private

Regiment: Queen's Own (Royal West Kent Regiment)

Battalion: 1st Battalion.

Number: L/5498

Type of Casualty: Killed in action

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This one is also recorded as KIA !

Name: ARGENT, JAMES ERNEST

Initials: J E

Nationality: United Kingdom

Rank: Private

Regiment/Service: Queen's Own (Royal West Kent Regiment)

Unit Text: 1st Bn.

Date of Death: 12/12/1914

Service No: L/5498

Casualty Type: Commonwealth War Dead

Grave/Memorial Reference: Panel 45 and 47.

Memorial: YPRES (MENIN GATE) MEMORIAL

Name: James Ernest Argent

Birth Place: High Ongar, Essex

Residence: Woolwich, Kent

Death Date: 12 Dec 1914

Rank: Private

Regiment: Queen's Own (Royal West Kent Regiment)

Battalion: 1st Battalion.

Number: L/5498

Type of Casualty: Killed in action

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Wow thanks everyone!

Now I am really intrigued, as the other two listed casualties for 12/12/14 are also Menin Gate comrades. And there seems to be a contradiction between the Regiment diary (2 deaths) and the apparent records of 3. Maybe one was a casualty that died of earlier wounds?

But does anyone have an explanation for the lack of official graves for all of them when there was no 'action' on the front at the time? Is this common?

I'm definitely interested in any further trench location if anyone can root that out. I'd love to visit the scene one day and see. Maybe in 2014 on the Centenary when my kids will be old enough to appreciate the issues.

I was fortunate enough to talk to 2 survivors as a child (one was the brother-in-law of W A Goodrick, in the 1th Hussars) but too young to understand.

As I said, thanks everyone.

Kind regards

David

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Sorry Jonathan S I'm new at this forum and making mistakes on the reply menus.

Sadly I don't have a photo, I'll see what my mum can dig out but it's unlikely. A bit of family history - when William was killed he left a pregnant wife who subsequently had a son, they lived near Canterbury, but apart from seeing him occasionally (so I'm told) as a small child, there's presently no connection. William was one of 12 children of whom 11 survived to maturity and, perhaps surprisingly, the only casualty of WW1. One of his sisters married a career soldier in the 11th Hussars, and I suspect his records are not accessible as he was serving well after 1920. I remember visiting him as a child in the 70's when he was a widower, with more horse mementoes than people photos in his flat in SE London. He's also someone I'd like to research some more but it's harder to track the survivors than the casualties. I guess there's a lesson there for all of us: we should connect more with people whilst they're still here.

There were two WW1 veterans I connected with as a small child and the thing I remember for both was their view on the worst aspect of what they did. Our old neighbour in Essex was a lovely old Gent called Mr Sherwood who signed up for a Scottish Regt on outbreak of war and survived the whole show! He did that (ie signed up for the Scots, despite being Essex) because it was the Reg't that was recruiting when the urge took him, and he regretted it ever after! His comments to me (I must have been about 8) were that the worst thing was the kilt. It was either wet and heavy, or worse, frozen, and took the skin off his legs. I think that implies he was in the trenches very early as the Scots got rid of the kilt quite quickly?

My uncle in the Hussars - surname Smith, so forget it! - is recorded in family legend as saying his worst experience was taking over stables recently vacated by the French, as there were piles of dead horses indicating a different relationship to their horses than the one he grew up with in the Hussars. Given the 1st Cavalry spent a lot of time dismounted in the trenches in 1914-15, from what I have read, I suspect he was being selective to avoid talking about those horrors.

Anyway I really appreciate the time you've taken and the background you've given me, so thanks very much!

Kind regards

David

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I couldnt find any indication of their exact location from the Appendices but you might like to look at the War Diary again. My copy says two men of A Company were killed and one man of B Company. I cant recall if the War Diary was more specific but these would most likely have been attritional losses - either sniping or shelling. The 1st Bn were in the trenches on the 12th.

Kilts were worn by the Highland regiments all the way through the war to the best of my knowledge.

Regards,

Jonathan S

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