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21st Battalion KRRC - the original Yeomen


Liz in Eastbourne
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There are nine Yeomen riflemen and two officers in the Guards Cemetery, Lesboeufs.

The CWGC account of this concentration cemetery explains that Plot 1 contains the original 40 graves, mainly of Grenadier Guardsmen, and the rest were brought in after the Armistice from the battlefields and small cemeteries nearby such as the Flers Dressing Station and Flers Road Cemeteries. These 21/KRRC graves are in plots 2-5. I haven’t asked CWGC about where they came from, but Lt Hervey’s record shows that his remains were moved in 1919 from Switch Trench cemetery, which is said to have contained mainly Australian graves.

All but one (Lt Yeaman) died at Flers; of those, all but two (2/Lt Hervey, Rfn Luther), were listed by both CWGC and SDGW as killed in action on 17th September because their records (those that survive to be checked) say ‘15/17.9.16’, and all, if killed in action, must in fact have died on 15th September. The official ‘15/17’ shows the confusion of those days when men were missing after the battle and then their bodies found. I always have a mental picture when I look at the casualty records of this period of the adjutant, 19-year-old Anthony Eden, desperately trying to fulfil his new role in reporting the terrible casualties of his battalion, which included many personal friends from home. He didn’t fill in the forms but presumably supplied the information.

The officer killed at Flers has been mentioned many times on this thread.

2/Lt Hervey, Thomas Percy Arthur, Ref IV.F.2

(See especially #156 p 7:

The CWGC gravestone, like his MIC, gives his death date as 15/17 September; the online CWGC record says 15.09.1916; and SDGW says ‘killed in action’ on 17th September.

His record, discussed before, brought home how awful it must have been for his family to think he made special efforts to be released from his colonial job in Fiji to fight in the war and the inscription on his grave reinforced this impression. It says:

‘IN FAR FIJI

HE HEARD HIS COUNTRY’S CALL

AND CAME AND DIED.’

The flatness of this statement invites a concluding bitter line, which is not, however, expressed. I suppose it could be ‘to save us all’ but somehow ‘for b***** all’ comes to mind.

EDIT I have remembered looking through the previous posts that he was son of a vicar and grandson of a Bishop of Bath and Wells, so I am sure they didn't quite use those words; but the absence of any pious sentiments is all the more striking.

Liz

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Guards Cemetery, Lesboeufs.

Here are brief details of six of the nine Yeoman Riflemen who died at Flers and are buried here. The others will follow.

C/12385 Dyson, Guy William Ref II.C.8

Guy William Dyson appears on Jim’s B Company 7 platoon photograph: I shall be going back to that. He was killed in action, aged 20, on ‘15/17 Sept’.

Guy’s father, Fred, was a clerk in a brewery in Tadcaster in 1911; Guy was living at home and working as a ‘clerk and analyst’ when he attested in York in 1915. His mother, Laura, was daughter of a blacksmith at Thorparch (near Boston Spa), and he had two sisters.

C/12583 Elder, Henry Ref II.B.5

Henry Elder was also killed in action aged 20 on ‘15/17 Sept’. He was born in Whitby, lived there and had attested there, so was in A company. He worked as a draper’s errand boy; his father had been a seaman, and his mother worked as a cleaner in a ship-owner’s office. There had been six children, but two had died; Henry’s elder brother also served in France but survived.

C/12012 Hughes, F Ref IV.C.10

Serjeant Frederick Hughes was also killed in action, on 17th September according to SDGW and CWGC; I cannot find his military record but he is in the same category as the other men, and was killed in action on 15th (or died of wounds later before being found). He was born in Bolton, Lancashire and enlisted in York, among the first recruits to the new battalion, in October 1915: probably B Company.

C/12477 Kendrew, H Ref II.C.6

Harry Kendrew was killed in action on 17th September according to SDGW and CWGC, so his service record, which does not appear to have survived, must have said ‘15/17.9’. SDGW spells his name ‘Kindrew’, erroneously since census and other records confirm the spelling ‘Kendrew’. He was born and brought up in Sowerby, Thirsk, North Riding, and enlisted at Thirsk, so was probably in A company.

His father James worked as a railway waggon greaser, his brother as an iron moulder and Harry himself was a blacksmith in 1911. By that time both parents were dead, but Harry and one brother and sister were still living in the family home where he had spent his whole life, 9, Victory Row, Sowerby. Along with another Yeoman Rifleman who was killed in action at Flers, William Sievers, he is commemorated on the Sowerby War Memorial.

C/12880 Kilding, A.C. Ref V.G.10

Alfred Craddock Kilding was killed in action ‘15/17 September’, aged 25. He was in A company, as a North Riding man, born and brought up in Preston-under-Scar, Leyburn, where his father, James, was a carter on a farm. He enlisted at Middlesbrough, giving his occupation as N E Railway porter.

His father, mother Mary, four brothers and two sisters survived him, but his brother Henry of the 9th Bn West Yorkshire Regiment (Prince of Wales’s Own) was killed on 27th August 1917 and is commemorated on the Tyne Cot memorial. On p. 11 of this thread there is a link provided by Chris CPGW to the Craven’s Part in the Great War website, which mentions them, although they are not in the book but in Wensleydale Remembered.

C/12083 Luther, Charles Herbert Ref III.G.8

Charles Herbert Luther is recorded as having died of wounds on 15th September. He was a 26-year-old coach painter (railways? motor coaches?) and the youngest of seven children of George (a gardener) and Ann Luther, who survived him along with his five older sisters and older brother. He was born and had always lived in Bridlington, East Riding and attested there (again, as an early recruit, in October 1915: approved in Beverley) so was in A company. His conduct sheet is clean (signed by Capt. Lloyd-Greame) and his record uneventful until his death.

His casualty form in his service record spoils my theory that there is consistency in the way the deaths are recorded there in relation to their CWGC and SDWG entries. It says ‘OC Bn’ on 16.9.16 reported him ‘Wounded in Action 15/17.9.16’, then ‘29.9.16 Wounded and missing’. Why on the basis of this he is said to have died of wounds on 15th I don’t know, unless someone’s eye-witness report made the difference from others.

i'll post the others later. As with all the other biographies on this thread, the idea is to build up a picture of the battalion, and also perhaps help someone who's looking for details of a particular man.

Liz

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The record of another rifleman whose grave is in the Guards Cemetery, Lesboeufs proved unexpectedly interesting.

R/19483 Hope, Charles Agar Ref V.E.7

Charles Hope, an ironmonger, aged 23, was in D Company, despite coming from Naburn, just south of York, where his father, Henry, was lock-keeper at Naburn Locks. This is probably because he came late to the battalion after being enlisted into the reserve (hence his service number) in December 1915. The record is badly damaged, but the date of his being mobilized as a rifleman appears to be 8 February 1916, and he probably joined the battalion at Aldershot. On his attestation form ‘General Service’ has been over-stamped ‘Yeoman Rifles’ and there is no evidence of any other KRRC battalion (unlike the other R/ - soldiers mentioned here). His middle name ‘Agar’, from his mother Sarah Ann’s maiden name (not used in his military documents) is the surname of two other riflemen, but I haven’t looked closely enough to tell whether there is a relationship.

His casualty form shows he was reported on 19.9.16 ‘Missing 15/17.9.16’ and then on 13.11.16 ‘Killed in action 15/17.9.16’, and as usual he is recorded ‘Killed in action 17th September’ by both SDGW and CWGC. At all events, he hadn’t been in a dressing station.There is correspondence on his file which shows how much doubt and anxiety remained in the minds of the family when so little was known about whether a man had been killed outright on the day or died of wounds a little later. Perhaps the man had not died at all?

His mother wrote on 15th November after receiving her son’s disc to ask:

‘If possible will you please say,

1. If, without doubt, the disc was taken off the body or out of the kit bag belonging to the above, if the former,

2. Where is he buried and when, and,

3. If the pocket book and photographs which he always carried may be returned?’

The answer to this articulate, formal and controlled letter (typed so possibly done with assistance), is not on file but in February 1917 she wrote again to follow up an earlier letter asking for the home address of Corporal JE Baker, No 13018 (actually C/13018), who had been her son’s great friend, and who had, she believed, been seen together with him – perhaps on 15th, but a crucial section of the letter has been burnt away so it is not clear. She had seen Corporal Baker’s name in the casualty lists as ‘Wounded’ and her son’s as ‘Missing’ and she wondered if Baker was a prisoner of war, and then perhaps if her son was too, even though she had been told he had been killed in action. It seems she had not received any of her son’s belongings.

Correspondence between RAMC personnel at the hospitals where Baker was being treated and the KRRC records section at Winchester ensued and a handwritten statement from Corporal JE Baker is on file, which must have dashed Mrs Hope’s desperate hopes.

‘Rfn C Hope, 21st Battn King’s Royal Rifles, was known to me but I am unable to give any information regarding him as D Company to which Hope was attached was separated from the rest of the Battalion two days before the action on Sept 15th 1916 and I have not seen him since that separation. Although I am in D Company I was attached to the Battn Hdqrs Signal Section.’

C/13018 JE Baker Corporal 21st King’s Royal Rifle Corps.

Corporal Baker is mentioned by GV Dennis in A Kitchener Man's Bit, p 83, as being with the Colonel, the Earl of Feversham, when he was killed.

‘Signallers Baker and Gunson were wounded at the same time. The former had a very nasty wound in his neck. He was made comfortable in a shell hole which was deepened a little to give him extra protection.’

Both parents, three brothers and one sister survived him, but there was a further blow for the family soon after this correspondence: his elder brother Alfred William Hope was killed on 10 October 1917 serving with the 6th Battalion the Yorkshire Regiment (he had formerly served with the Yorkshire Hussars). Both are recorded on the Naburn page on the website for York war memorials but their relationship is not stated.

http://yorkandthegre...rn-War-Memorial

Liz

Edited by Liz in Eastbourne
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The remaining three Yeoman Riflemen in Guards Cemetery, Lesboeufs have already featured on this thread.

Two died at Flers.

C/12274 Moseley, Harry Osborne Ref IV.1.3

There is a photo of Harry Moseley supplied by ‘highwood’ on p 4 of this thread, and an account of his record. We also discussed the date issue – the back of the photo stated ‘Killed in action Sept 15, 1916, in the capture of Delville Wood and Flers.’

C/12436 Tindall, Harry Ref II.C.2

Harry Tindall appears on Jim’s B Company, 7 Platoon photograph. On p. 11 of this thread there is also a link provided by Chris CPGW to the Craven’s Part in the Great War website, which mentions Harry and his cousins. There is an interesting local newspaper article on the site at http://www.cpgw.org....D=176-01&arID=2

The letter from his cousin Allan quoted in this says Harry had been wounded by machine gun fire and taken to a dressing station, and this is also stated in the letter from 2/Lt Brooksbank, his platoon commander. His record says only ‘Killed in action in the field 15/17.9.16’.

Harry was a 19-year-old trainee schoolteacher at St John’s College, York, when he attested in York in November 1915. His parents, William (a printer’s compositor) and Matilda, had moved to Colne in Lancashire, but Harry gave his address as ‘Victoria Restaurant, Belmont Bridge, Skipton’.

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2/Lt Yeaman, Denis John Special Memorial 13 Guards Cemetery Lesboeufs

Yeaman is mentioned several times in this thread and his main biography is on p 8. CWGC gives his death as 5 /10/1916, while SDGW says he was killed in action on 10th October, as with other Gird Ridge casualties: records often show 5/10.10.1916.

His sudden and shocking death before the battalion went into action for the second time made a deep impression on everyone. Two accounts based on contemporary diaries, GV Dennis’s Another World and an unpublished officer diary in the IWM, state that Yeaman was killed on 6th October. The officer’s diary says ‘As we were starting up to the line on the 6th, a shell fell at he head of A Company, killing Yeaman who had just joined us from England and Browne (sic) the old B Company CSM who had just rejoined us after being wounded on the first night at Plug Street. Howard was so badly shaken that Foljambe sent him down to the Transport.’ ‘Browne’ was John Brown, R/10826, commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial.

Yeaman’s headstone is a ‘special memorial’ along the wall, stating that his remains are believed to be buried somewhere in the cemetery.

Liz

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  • 2 weeks later...

One 21/KRRC rifleman killed in action at Flers (15th September 1916) is buried in

Delville Wood Cemetery, Longueval. According to CWGC:

'DELVILLE WOOD CEMETERY was made after the Armistice, when graves were brought in from a few small cemeteries and isolated sites, and from the battlefields. Almost all of the burials date from July, August and September 1916.'

C/12407 Cranswick, Cecil Aubrey, Ref.VIII.B.9

Cecil Cranswick’s headstone is almost the first one you come across on entering the cemetery, on the left.

I have not found his military record, but as both CWGC and SDGW give his date of death as 17th September and SDGW says he was killed in action, it may be assumed that the casualty form said 15/17 and he was actually killed on 15th September, as with so many others. He was the son of William Henry Cranswick, a timber trader born in Bognor, Sussex, and his wife Louisa, and they lived in Park Avenue, Hull.

Cecil was a shipping clerk in 1911, according to the census record, and living at home with his parents, brother and sister. He was 23 when he died. He should have been in A Company, given his East Riding background, but this is not certain.

Liz

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  • 2 weeks later...

AIF Burial Ground, Flers

As the name suggests this cemetery was started by the Australians; 'medical units posted in neighbouring caves, in November 1916 - March 1917... It was very greatly enlarged after the armistice when almost 4,000 Commonwealth and French graves were brought in from the battlefields of the Somme’ (CWGC), and it was after this date (much later in the case of Feversham) that the ten Yeoman Riflemen here were moved to their present graves. (EDIT there is more discussion of this cemetery here: http://1914-1918.inv...0)

From their action at Flers on 15th September 1916 there is only one officer’s grave and one rifleman’s. The officer is the Commanding Officer:

Duncombe, Charles William Reginald, 2nd Earl of Feversham,

Lt Col commanding 21/KRRC Ref III.L.29

As there were eye-witness accounts of his death, the records correctly state that he was killed in action on 15th September. On pp 3 and 4 of this thread I gave an account of the death of burial of the Earl of Feversham, using the war diary, Anthony Eden’s account (especially important as he led the burial party), and Dennis’s account of the additional materials brought from the family estate to the original grave after the war, and his visit to it in 1928. And, as I stressed there, Feversham’s dog was certainly NOT buried with him. There are many more mentions of Feversham on this thread and there is already a photo of the grave on Trenchtrotter’s thread (http://1914-1918.inv...25#entry1504829); it is now in a row of similar CWGC graves.

Rifleman

C/12822 Williams, F S Ref X. D. 2

Fred Stanley Williams was killed in action at Flers and both CWGC and SDGW record the date as 15th September, as stated on his casualty form. As previously noted, 15th Sept was the only date of action for 21/KRRC but records often say 15/17 whether KIA or DOW. His record shows he was sent to the 124/1 Trench Mortar Battery on 31st May 1916 and he appears to have remained with them. Possibly this role made it easier for the precise date of his death to be recorded.

He was in B Company (Capt. Claud Burton signed his clean conduct form) as a West Riding man who had enlisted in Leeds and was born, brought up and lived in Huddersfield. His father Samuel, who had been a woollen weaver in Linthwaite and then a grocer in Paddock, had died in 1902, and his mother remarried in 1911, a weaver called William Brook; he had a younger brother, George. Aged 28 when he died, he had been a teacher.

Liz

EDIT I have been struggling to do links to other threads since the upgrade but hope I've got it right now.

Edited by Liz in Eastbourne
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The remaining eight Yeoman Rifles graves in the AIF cemetery are from the action at Gird Ridge on 7th Oct 1916 and just before and after the main action. Service records normally say 5/10 October. I shall give four brief biographies in this post and leave four until later.

Riflemen and NCOs

C/12916 Bennett, Henry Ref IX.L.9

Henry Bennett was in D Company although he was a West Riding man born and enlisted in Sheffield, and this was probably because he was a late recruit and B Company was full – late recruits are much more often in D Company, which was originally for men from the Midlands. He had spent part of his childhood in Workington, Cumberland, before the family moved back to Sheffield. His father, Harry, was a blast furnaceman from Staffordshire, and his mother, Harriet, was a Sheffield woman; Henry himself was a moulder in an iron works, while his elder brother Harold was a silversmith.

Both CWGC and SDGW give 10th October 1916 as his date of death. As so often happens, his record says 5/10. His casualty form shows that he was reported on 20th October to have been wounded in action between those dates, and then on 10th November wounded and missing. Again, we know this reflects the disarray of the battalion after the two actions of Flers and Gird Ridge.

Henry’s parents, brothers Harold and George and sister Evelyn survived him according to the 1919 form.

C/12921 Benson, Thomas Hubert, Ref. VII.L.10

Thomas Benson was another late recruit in D Company. He might have been expected to be in A Company, as a North Riding man from Ampleforth, but he enlisted in Nottingham; he was a railway booking clerk in Langley Mill, Nottinghamshire (but in the parish of Heanor, Derbyshire) in 1911 and at the time of attesting lived in Heanor with his wife Annie. His father Luke, a ‘gardener and huckster’ in Ampleforth, his mother Eleanor and elder brother Harry were still living in Ampleforth in 1919, and Thomas is commemorated on the war memorial in St Hilda’s churchyard, Ampleforth.

He is recorded as having been killed in action on 10th October on SDGW, on the basis of the casualty record’s usual ‘5/10 /10/16’ but CWGC has 7th October. Although there is no clear evidence for this in Thomas Benson’s record, this is much the most likely date, as the main action took place on that day, and D and B Companies suffered especially heavy casualties, as recorded by Anthony Eden in Another World.

C/12234 Cook, FR, Ref. IX.L.8.

Francis Robert Cook was born in Gilberdyke, East Riding (not Gillingham as stated on SDGW online) but lived in Acomb, just west of York, where he enlisted, and was duly in B Company. He was a 19-year-old coach builder (presumably of train coaches) when he attested, living with his parents Francis William (a joiner for the North Eastern Railway in 1911) and Emily Cook, his sister Ethel and brother Sidney, who survived him.

His casualty form states that he was killed in action 5/10 October, the standard description of the death of anyone killed at Gird Ridge whose circumstances of death were not reported, and both CWGC and SDGW say 10th October. The most likely date is 7th October (see above).

The notes provided by Michael E Hickes to GV Dennis’s A Kitchener Man’s Bit state that Francis R. Cook was killed at Ploegsteert Wood, but this is clearly an error.

R/2916 Cundy, Bernard, Ref. X.K.9

Lance-Corporal Bernard Cundy was a Nottinghamshire man whose MIC shows that he went to France on 21st May 1915 – I think this may mean he was in the 7th Bn KRRC but would welcome advice. As his service record doesn’t seem to have survived, the date when he joined the 21st Bn is unknown. He was killed in action on 10th October according to SDGW and CWGC, but that date is approximate in the absence of any details.

He was born in Radford, Nottinghamshire in 1895 to Amos and Maria Cundy, and had seven siblings. The family worked in the lace manufacturing industry: Amos was a lace curtain designer and draughtsman, Bernard was a clerk in the manufacturers’ offices and his sister Clara was a ‘pattern girl’ in 1911.

Bernard’s elder brother, Ernest, also served in the KRRC (20th Bn) and had already been killed in action on 22nd July 1916. Ernest is now buried in Dantzig Alley Cemetery, Mametz.

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Hello Liz

Your guess as to which company my great uncle, Gerald John Lloyd Burton, was in is correct. I have a photograph of D Company taken in Aldershot in 1916 and he is in it.

Jeremy

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Hello Jeremy
It's wonderful to hear from you - I have been away on holiday or you would have had a much quicker reply.

I was sure your great-uncle was in D Company after examination of all the sources but on page 7 of this thread you will have seen all the convoluted arguments I had with myself to reach that conclusion!

It would be very interesting to know more about him, especially what happened to him between 1916 and 1918 and what his MC was for. I have tried to reconstruct the organisation of the battalion at various stages in 1916 and I reckoned he was senior Lieutenant in D Company, followed by JB Coates and GD Sheardown, under Major Paget till May 1916 when Paget was ill and could not go to France with 21/KRRC. Burton was then promoted Temp. Capt on 5 May when the battalion left for France. I mentioned in my biography of Coates on p 7 that I think he took over from Burton, when he was promoted acting Captain to command the company in July. Sheardown took over from Coates when the latter was wounded at Flers on September 15.

This was additional proof to me (which you may be able to confirm) that Capt Burton was not merely slightly injured by the bomb incident connected with the trench raid on 10/11 July 1916, as GV Dennis had suggested in A Kitchener Man's Bit. He was in the wounded list for 1916, the war diary mentions him as wounded and a comment I have since found in an officer diary in the Imperial War Museum (Meysey-Thompson of B Company) also suggests that he may have been badly burned.
'...Gerald Burton and CSM Gibson were helping the raid by letting off smoke bombs when one burst burning them very badly about the face and hands.'

I would love to see that D Company photograph! I'll pm you.

Liz

Edited by Liz in Eastbourne
Change 'battalion' written in error for 'company'.
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  • 1 month later...

What a great thread!.....and I hope I can add a little more for the sake of this superb resource for the KRRC. Thank you Liz for replying to my enquiry concerning the 21st actions at Flers

To start with here is a list of the chaps that we have on the Tadcaster site

Andy

post-10939-0-13586100-1345574331_thumb.j

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............and a little information on Norman Ward as it appears on the site

post-10939-0-52240600-1345574535_thumb.j

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Here is a picture of G W Dyson resting place and a newspaper photograph reporting his death

Andy

post-10939-0-15249600-1345755319_thumb.j

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Thank you very much, Andy, for the picture of Guy William Dyson's gravestone in the cemetery at Lesboeufs and the newspaper photograph. I visited the grave in May, as you may have seen from #304, but have not posted photographs of most of the graves.

I keep getting sidetracked but I had intended to post short biographies of all the men in Jim's B Coy 7 Platoon photograph with individual enlargements, and as we've now got Dyson in your post as well as mine on this page, I may as well put his picture here.

So here he is, enlarged from the group photo taken at Aldershot in February 1916.

598ed57a119f2_Dyson7PlatoonBCoyjpg.JPG.948de7917f19cdb84cc9956c62692fd2.JPG

Many thanks to Jim for the picture and to Chris Foster for doing these individual enlargements for me last year - sorry I am being so slow to get them posted!

Liz

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Also on the group photo, I think, is Atheling Farrer, though the caption says 'Farrar' with no first name or initial. He is buried in Heilly Station Cemetery, as you say above, Andy, and there is a short biography of him at #297 on p 12 of this thread. I have discussed the Gird Ridge death dates 5/10 October as well as 15/17 September for Flers, but in this case, Farrer died of wounds so 10 October 1916 will be correct.

598ed5c1e4727_KRRC21st-Bn-B-Coy-Rifleman-Farrar.JPG.e96849f4fb6e878ae3600f8fd468e557.JPG

Thanks to Jim and Chris as before.

Liz

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Superb , what fantastic photos of the lads. Not to be forgotten

Here are some other cemetery shots

Many Thanks

Andy

post-10939-0-91388900-1345664888_thumb.j

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Thanks, Andy. By the way the Boston Spa war memorial also mis-spells Atheling Farrer's surname, showing him as A. Farrar MM:

598ed65c15dc9_BostonSpawarmemorialnames1.JPG.8f15cd2194e07556363de8f3cc04859e.JPG

Nigel Marshall kindly supplied me with this photograph last summer after seeking out a number of Yeoman Riflemen's memorials in Yorkshire. Henry Dykes on the same panel was also in the 21st Battalion but was badly wounded at Flers and in hospital for 3 months, and then posted to the 10th Battalion with whom he was killed in action on 4 April 1917. In this he was like my great-aunt's fiance JT Hardcastle, also in B Coy, who died in 1917 with 2/KRRC, and many other Yeoman Riflemen.

You can spot them by the service numbers, of course.

EDIT I have just realised Herbert Hickson was also one of them, indeed quite an early recruit - C/12166 - but I haven't previously researched him. It looks as though he served with 21/KRRC until the battalion was disbanded in March 1918, was sent to the 18th Bn and died of wounds a few days later, though I haven't found his service record; I am going by the general information available. He died with the 18th Bn on 28 March 1918 and GV Dennis records in his book that he was originally to have been sent to the 18th with others of his comrades and was very lucky that after all he wasn't - as their casualties were so heavy from 21 March.

I'll put Norman Ward's picture up shortly.

Liz

Edited by Liz in Eastbourne
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I was just looking at your Tadcaster site, Andy, and I should have thanked you for it before as I have found it useful in the past.

Would it be possible to mention the earlier battalion of Dykes and Hickson on the site? In Dykes's case he fought at Flers, was wounded, had 3 months in hospital and a short time in England with 5th Bn and was only a couple of months with the 10th Bn. If my surmise above is correct Hickson served with the 21st for the whole life of the battalion and spent just a few days with the 18th. Yet their battalion at the time of their death defines them on memorial records, though we know the men usually had a fierce loyalty to their original battalion, especially this one, and were probably much less attached to their final ones. At all events, there's no doubt they were both original Yeoman Riflemen.

Liz

Edited by Liz in Eastbourne
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Here's the picture of Norman Ward I promised, to go with the details Andy posted at #314 from his Tadcaster website. Again, thanks to Jim and Chris of this forum.

598edcfbb5b71_KRRC21st-Bn-B-Coy-Rifleman-Ward.JPG.38685ff5c239dcf88eff906923324ce4.JPG

I haven't got much information to add to the interesting story you have there, and in fact I used your info once on a thread about bomb throwers (EDIT http://1914-1918.inv...d)

But there's an interesting sheet about his effects in his record that I'll mention later.

Liz

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I found this bit from Norman Ward's record interesting; it's the standard form for the return of effects to bereaved families. Norman Ward had rather more things sent home after his death than most examples I have seen and his father's response is more indignant than most. He worked as a platelayer for the NE Railway Company and although only two daughters and two sons appear to have survived to 1919, the 1911 census showed there were 10 children and all had survived.

R.R.27786 (C.R.)

From Officer i/c Rifle Records, NA Section, K.R.R.Corps, Winchester

to Mr William Ward, White House, Ulleskelf, York, 7.2.1917

C/12713 Rfn N Ward 21st KRRC

i beg to forward the effects of the above named soldier received from Officer i/c Base Records, consisting of:-

1 Disc

4 letters

1 Cig Case

2 Testaments

1 Gospel

2 books on Musketry

1 Notebook

1 Coin (1 st) (? not clear)

1 Badge Numerals

Buttons Hchief Pkt. Knife

1 Comb 1 Purse

2 small keys

Kindly acknowledge receipt hereon.

(signature of Addington, Capt) Major

for Colonel i/c Rifle Records, New Army Section, K.R.R.C.

Answer

From Mr William Ward, White House, Ulleskelf, York

To Officer i/c Rifle Records, NA Section, K.R.R.Corps, Winchester

12.2.1917

I have received the mentioned effects belonging to my son this morning. But there is various other articles belonging to him of his own which I think ought to be returned as for his empty purse, it shouldnt have been with the amount of money he took away from home, as he was the only one at home I shall certainly expect some further allowance for the loss of his life.

Yours faithfully

William Ward

Ulleskelf

Edited by Liz in Eastbourne
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One more thing about the Tadcaster recruits - the officer commanding 7 Platoon, B Company was Philip Brooksbank of Healaugh Hall, Tadcaster, who's mentioned on Andy's website information about Norman Ward. His picture from the group photo (I have just gone back and put in Chris's individual enlargement, which I didn't have at the time when I posted about him) and some biographical details are on p 11 of this thread http://1914-1918.inv...3.

I get the impression, reinforced by Anthony Eden's account of his recruitment efforts on behalf of Feversham in Durham, that officers from local landowning families helped to establish the popularity of the battalion among the more traditionally-employed families (ie farming-related). Other B Company officers included Hubert Charles Meysey-Thompson, nephew of Baron Knaresborough though himself a London lawyer, and (Robert) Claud Burton, of Cherry Burton Hall, Beverley.

This isn't the whole picture, of course - Major 'Patch' Watson, O/C B Coy, was a coal-mine owner and young Lt James Skelton Anderson was son of a shipping magnate, just as there were many men in industrial occupations - factory or railway workers, miners etc - and there was overlap between the traditional and industrial as family occupations changed.

Liz

Edited by Liz in Eastbourne
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Liz thank you so much for this interesting information concerning some of the lads around the Tadcaster area. Thank you to all forum members for their help here too.

I have to mention my brother Dave and I have spent the last few years searching and typing up all of the site details, Dave does the vast majority, if not all of the site work, hours and hours of graft by my older brother makes the site a great resource and interest for both of us. Dave is a great researcher covering family history and presentation of the site, my role is easier, I provide the military slant of who, where and when.

It states on the Tadcaster Church memorial that these men should never be forgotten......for us it is an honour to keep their memories alive.

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Thank you very much, Andy - you and Dave have obviously done a huge amount in the past few years in keeping their memory alive through your website.

I realise I haven't quite finished! The Pallister brothers of Boston Spa on your list both started out as Yeoman Riflemen, though William was with the 18th Battalion when he died. There are photographs and discussion of both on this thread, which I am sure you have seen but others may not have done:

http://1914-1918.inv...71

Mark Brockway did a very thorough examination on that thread of William's record, which reminds me that Hickson (above) could have been transferred to the 18th earlier as WIlliam Pallister was: we just don't know. William enlisted into and trained with the 21st, served with them through their actions on the Somme in 1916, was wounded in June 1917 and transferred to the 18th in the autumn of 1917.

George Nelson Pallister's record seems not to have survived so I have nothing to add to what is said on that thread except that there is no need to speculate that he died of wounds rather than being killed in action just because the death date is given as 17 September. As has been noted numerous times, it was standard practice for the date of Flers casualties of this battalion to be attributed to 15/17 September on casualty forms. The distinction between the two categories within those two days seems to me to be a falsely precise one anyway - some made it to dressing stations but died within a day or two, some may have lingered for some time on the battlefield but their deaths were unseen so they were 'kiled in action'. The only action was on the 15th and there were no additional deaths by shells etc on 16th and 17th as far as I know.

Liz

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I think Corporal Francis Wilson Skilbeck (C/12172) is the only other Yeoman Rifleman on your list, Andy.

Skilbeck’s military record does not appear to have survived and I cannot add much to Andy and Dave’s Tadcaster website entry. He’s also commemorated on the Acomb War Memorial, Acomb Methodist Church War Memorial, The King’s Book in York and the York memorial website.

Much older than most riflemen at 39 when he was killed, he was a farmer at Springfield, The Green, Acomb, near York, son of a prosperous farmer at Bilton near Tadcaster (not to be confused with the Harrogate Bilton). He was married, for the second time, to Alice; his first wife, Fannie Jane, had died in 1907, presumably in childbirth, along with their baby son. As with many other Yeoman Riflemen killed at Flers, his date of death is given as 15/09/1916 by CWGC but 17/09/1916 by SDGW, for the reasons already given.

He was an early recruit so I would assume he was in the expected Company for his place of birth and residence, B, but he’s not on the 7 Platoon photo. It would be wonderful to find the other platoon photographs from Aldershot, especially (for me) of B Company, because I would then have one of John Thomas Hardcastle, on whose account I started this thread – two years ago tomorrow, I’ve just realised.

Liz

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  • 1 month later...

I left unfinished the task of listing the Yeoman Riflemen killed in their two actions on the Somme, Flers (15 Sept 1916) and Gird Ridge (5-10 October 1916). Since my Somme visit I've visited another cemetery where there is a 21/KRRC Flers casualty, the huge Military Cemetery, Etaples, so I will mention him first.

Sergeant Frank Hildrick (C/12099) of A company died on 27 September 1916 of gun shot wounds received in the battle for Flers on 15 September, and I visited his grave at Etaples (XI. B. 10.) on a dismal rainy day (last Sunday) with two other GWF members. According to his record he was admitted to 21st Casualty Clearing Station on 16th September and then to 23rd General Hospital, Etaples.

Sgt Hildrick was the son of a stonemason in Bondgate, Helmsley, North Riding, an estate worker for Duncombe Park, and was therefore on the ‘Countess’ photograph (p. 4 of this thread). He had been a draper’s assistant there in 1911 at the age of 16. He was among the first to enlist with the Yeoman Rifles but did so at St Pancras, as he was according to his attestation form living at 46, Paternoster Row, London and working as a warehouseman. A note by Michael E Hickes in his edition of GV Dennis’s A Kitchener Man’s Bit, based on his discussions with Dennis, states that

‘his fiancée was Miss Gladys Cooper, whose family had a shoe shop in Helmsley for decades; she never remarried. Helmsley native, he worked in the drapery department of a large London store before enlisting.’

Hildrick was confirmed as Sergeant on the day the battalion went to France, 5 May 1916. He had a clean conduct sheet (signed by Capt Philip Lloyd-Greame) and good health, and I have found nothing about him before Flers. He was survived by his parents James and Eliza Fanny, his brother Hector and sisters Mary Annie Wilkinson and Dorothy Mary (unmarried in 1919).

EDIT Hildrick is commemorated on the Helmsley War Memorial, along with Rfn John Collier and their CO, the Earl of Feversham.

There are still several men in Caterpillar Valley Cemetery to record, as well as the long list on the Thiepval Memorial.

Liz

Edited by Liz in Eastbourne
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