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Remembered Today:

21st Battalion KRRC - the original Yeomen

Liz in Eastbourne

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Liz, Capt Burton is first noted in gerald Dennis diary as a junior officer when they assembled at Duncombe Park. He later tels of the incident in which Mr burton was wounded. A British experiment with phospherous went wrong and blew back into the trench burning the Officer and the Sergeant Major.

Lieut. Gerald John Lloyd Burton (later Captain and MC)

Seated on the ground, left, in the group photo.

Clip thanks to Nigel's assistance. GeraldJLBurton.jpg

This is the other Burton, and I think he was the one in D Company – but this is largely guesswork.

He was born on 9 September 1892, the tenth of eleven children of William F Burton, landowner, and his wife Georgiana, who lived at Goltho Hall in Lincolnshire. In 1901 they had a nurse, a governess, a cook and three other live-in maids: they did outnumber their house servants, unlike many people at the time, but there were gardeners, labourers and a groom in adjoining properties.

He was educated at St Lawrence College, Ramsgate, Kent, and as he gained his Cambridge degree at Pembroke College in 1920, I assume he resumed studies started before the war, probably 1912-14. In 1914 he enlisted in the Honourable Artillery Company, with whom he went to France on 18. 9.1914 and became a Lance-Corporal, according to his MIC, before taking a commission in the 7th Lincs Regiment on 11.5.1915 (MIC) and then the Yeoman Rifles in the autumn of 1915.

He was rapidly promoted to Lieutenant and then to Captain when the Battalion left for France.

An anecdote in Dennis refers to Captain Burton and CSM Gibson being accidentally sprayed by a phosphorus bomb thrown by the Royal Engineers while they were at Ploegsteert Wood. The context suggests that they were in D Company, and there was a Captain Burton mentioned as being in D Company at the outset. It could well be that the '??Yorkshire cricket' in the text at that point was an editorial insertion, since the other Burton was better known in Yorkshire. So my guess is that this was Gerald's misfortune, though he wasn't much hurt: the CSM, on the other hand, had to be sent back to Blighty, later joining a Machine Gun Company.

The KRRC Chronicle of 1916 gives a casualty list, transcribed here by Mark on 17 Sept (page 3) which includes both Burtons. Gerald could have been wounded at Flers or Gird Ridge. If anyone can find Military Cross citations on the London Gazette, I'd be very interested to know what this was for, and it might well clarify where he was wounded. The London Gazette entries I have found are as follows.

31 Dec 1915 and 3 Jan 1916 – GLJ Burton in a list of Temp. Second Lieutenants (Ewen, Sheardown, Gregson, Robinson, Yeaman, Turner, Leatham, Graham and Eden, all in the group photograph) notified in previous Gazettes and antedated to 29 Sept.

19 Jan 1916 – GJL Burton promoted to Temp. Lieutenant along with Leatham and Gregson.

18 Aug 1916

Temp Lt GJL Burton to be Temp. Capt 5 May 1916

(This raises the question of whether he was already known as Captain from the battalion's departure for France on 5 May, since it's not announced in the LG till August. I'm assuming he was, in the incident described above.)

12 April 1918

KRRif Corps

Temp Capt GJL Burton relinquishes his commission his commission on account of ill-health caused by wounds, and is granted the honorary rank of Captain. 17 April 1918

Supp. To LG 1526 of 3 Feb 1920


Capt GJL Burton MC (late KRRifCorps) to be Capt for service with the Cambridge University Contingent (Infantry Unit) Senior Div., OTC Feb 4th 1920

After taking his degree Burton became a plant breeder in the Department of Agriculture, Kenya and founded Egerton College, Njoro, according to the online site The Peerage. He was twice married (in 1928 and 1943) and divorced, and had no children.


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Liz in Eastbourne

Dear Liz, I had the great good fortune to meet "the last" yeoman, Mr Gerald V Dennis. I had written an short article about a North Riding Constabulary officer (Percy Chapman) who had been killed in 21 KRRC. I was later invited to the last three of the Reunions which were held in Helmsley on the Sunday nearest the date of the Flers Battle. Gerald was the kindest of men, whose memory was razor sharp. He also kept a comprehensive diary throughout the war, which he typed into a book in 1928. Gerald died, aged 98, on 5 December 1993. His ashes were scattered in Duncombe Park on 18 September 1994. It was a moving ceremony with a bugler provided by the KRRC. Anyhow, Geralds book was privately published in 1994 through the hard work of his good friend Michael Hickes - whose father and uncle were Yeomen. The book , which I have a copy was entitled "A Kitchener Man's Bit". Frank Arnold is mentioned as being the first man to enlist in York. Some years later, I found an official photo of 7 Platoon B Company 21 KRRC and there is a Private Jackson pictured. For a number of years after, I searched the war graves for 21 KRRC men and would send gerald a photo. He would, usually recall the events. A truely amazing man. Hope this is of some interest. Will gladly look up any further names you may have. Yours aye, Jim K

Jim - wonderful to hear from you.

If you get a chance to read more of this thread you will see that I obtained a copy of A Kitchener Man's Bit about three months ago and have been assiduously quoting from it ever since, as well as from Eden's book. I also posted a link to an article in the KRRCA journal about GV Dennis by Stuart Anderson. So it's very interesting to meet (virtually) someone who knew him.

There was also an earlier discussion of Frank Arnold on the Forum to which we supplied a link, repeated here Looking for further information.

I would be very interested to see the B Company picture especially as my great-aunt's fiance John T Hardcastle, from Mulwith near Ripon, might have been in it. Have you a copy?

What was special about Private Jackson?

I found the records of a policeman called James Joseph Chapman, enlisted at Hawes, no. C/12999, C Company, took part in the trench raid of 10/11 July, was killed on 27 July when they were still in Ploegsteert Wood - is this your Percy?

Many thanks for getting in touch.


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Liz in Eastbourne

Liz, Capt Burton is first noted in gerald Dennis diary as a junior officer when they assembled at Duncombe Park. He later tels of the incident in which Mr burton was wounded. A British experiment with phospherous went wrong and blew back into the trench burning the Officer and the Sergeant Major.

Yes -I have found these references to Burton in Dennis, and you will see that I have referred to both of them here (I also referred to the early mention when we were discussing casualties on p3).

EDIT I said earlier that this was 'not the incident in which he was recorded as wounded - he was just given treatment on the spot. GJL Burton must have been more seriously wounded later to have appeared in the casualty list for 1916'. However, this was based only on Dennis's account and may be wrong. The War Diary for 9th July 1916 says 'the trial bomb went off prematurely, seriously burning Lieut. Burton and RCSM Gibson - both evacuated.'

But the thing is, there was another Captain Burton as well as this one - and it was definitely the other one, Capt Claud Burton, who was 'Yorkshire Cricket' ( as appears with ref to ' ? Burton on p 11), and who was according to Eden o/c B Company at Gird Ridge. Unfortunately Dennis gives no initial or first name in either reference, but my argument is that Gerald John Lloyd Burton was the one in D Company, a Lincolnshire man who was not anything to do with Yorkshire cricket. Dennis doesn't actually give the rank of the Burton at Helmsley but the fact that he includes him among the junior officers also suggests this was the one. Claud Burton was already a Captain at Helmsley, whereas Gerald Burton was 2/Lt, but was rapidly promoted and was Captain 5 May 1916.

If you read my post you'll see I've suggested the 'Yorkshire Cricket' was an editorial insertion i.e. by Michael Hickes, who might know of Claud Burton and thought this was the same man. I have given a brief account of Claud Burton on the previous page.

I t's a bit involved, I know!


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Liz in Eastbourne

Temp. 2nd Lieut. Thomas Percy Arthur Hervey: killed in action at Flers, 15 September 1916

In the group photo he is in the left-hand section, middle row: 598ec2abb371e_TPAHervey.jpg.31616b87b5a04b7da239e22b81d5cda5.jpg

(Thanks again for your help with the photo clip, Nigel. Thanks also to Perth Digger who has sent me the most informative parts of Hervey's military record.)

His obituary in the KRRC Chronicle for 1916 reads as follows:

2nd Lieut. T P A Hervey was born in 1887 and received his education at Haileybury. Later he was serving under the Colonial Office in Fiji, and on the outbreak of war immediately endeavoured to answer his country's call. Owing to the service being understaffed it was some months before he could get permission to return home. He reached England in August and was granted a temporary commission in the following month. He went to France in May, 1916, and was instantaneously killed in his first action in September, 1916, being shot through the head whilst stooping to tear the coat off a Corporal which had caught fire. He was the only surviving son of the Rev. J A and Mrs Hervey.

The CWGC Casualty Details give their address as 48, Cromwell Road, Stanmore, Winchester, but the family address shown on the military record throughout the war was The Yews, Hardwick, Aylesbury, Bucks.

In 1891, as a 5-year-old, Thomas was staying with his grandfather, the Bishop of Bath and Wells, his grandmother and aunt, plus two footmen, a groom, a cook, a nurse and seven maids of various kinds, in the Bishop's Palace at Wells. I have not found the later census records, but none of the other Herveys on CWGC appear to be his brothers so I assume any other son(s) died earlier.

In 1910 Hervey applied for a Territorial Force commission in the 5th Battalion The Sherwood Foresters, Nottingham and Derbyshire Regiment. The form shows that he was born on 23 July 1887 at Nynehead Somerset, was 5'11" tall and was working as an estate agent and living at The Grove, Alfreton, Derbyshire. The Vicar of Alfreton certified his good character on the basis of two and a half years' knowledge of him. He resigned this commission to join the Colonial Service and was District Commissioner in Fiji (this sounds idyllic to me.) A letter from the Colonial Secretary in July 1915 granted him four and a half months' leave on full pay and six on half pay. He was appointed to a commission in the 15th Battalion KRRC on 23 August 1915 and subsequently transferred to the 21st (Service) Battalion.

Mark and I exchanged information from Dennis's book and the KRRC records on page 3 of this thread and it seems certain that Hervey was the Battalion Intelligence Officer. He had also been mentioned in the account of the trench raid on 10/11 July (see page 4) as doing useful work leading a search party for the missing, who were all brought back, and helping with the wounded.

Hervey was initially buried in Switch Trench Cemetery, Flers, but his body was moved to Guards' Cemetery, Lesboeufs in 1919. His father was assured by letter that this had been reverently done.

I keep thinking: he could have stayed in Fiji. They were short-staffed.

EDITED to include corrections and additions from the military record kindly supplied by Perth Digger.


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Hello Liz, Apologies for my missing all the references to Gerald Dennis and his book!! I think I must have just clicked the last page! I am sorry but Mr Hardcastle is not on the photo. there is a rifleman Johnson (and a Rmn Jackson) who I think you may have referred to earlier. Yes, it was Joe Chapman. He was the country beat offficer at Redmire. I wrote the article for the North Yorkshire Police magazine in the early 1990s and went about tracing all the Officers mentioned on the marble war memorial in Police HQ (sadly removed to outside and being ruined by weather). I rode around France & Belgium and found them all. When the article was circulated another ex-officer wrote to me and said his father, a PC from Leyburn, also a Yeoman, returned from leave together with Joe. It took them five days to get back to the Regiment. Joe went straight back into the line and that afternoon a shell landed on his dugout and joe was killed. As I said, I took photos of Yeoman graves and gerald would recount how they were killed! He sent his badges and other documents by post to the KRRC museum, but sadly, they never arrived. best wishes, yours aye, Jim K

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Liz in Eastbourne

No problem, Jim, I am only glad that discovering the great long back-story to this page hasn't put you off!

I would be very interested to see your article. Did you write anything about your work photographing the Yeoman graves, and conversations with GV Dennis?

That is awful that Dennis's documents and badges were lost en route to the KRRC museum - you mean the RGJ (Rifles) Museum at Winchester? And they were definitely lost - not arrived but mislaid in some store-room?

I did realise it was a slim chance that Hardcastle would be on your picture, as it's one platoon of B Company. I live in hope that one of his platoon may surface. I was very encouraged to read on p 30 of Dennis's book about how many photographs they had taken before leaving Aldershot - he even names the photographer, F. Scovell. But so far we only have two - this one of the officers, and the one of the men from the Helmsley estate, who were only a small section of A Company (and that's not such good quality -Mark did as much as could possibly be done to improve the resolution of the one taken from the article online by Anderson in the KRRCA journal, but it would be nice to find the original).

If you would be willing to put that picture on this thread some time in the New Year, after I've finished doing the officers so that it doesn't get any more confusing, that would be great. It sounds as though you have Nigel Marshall's Rfn Richard Fisher Johnson, C/12452, who was definitely in B Company. There was at least one other Johnson (CH Johnson, C/12680, killed when serving with the 9th Bn 2.10.17, so probably wounded with the 21st Bn earlier) but I don't know which company he was in. Using Geoff's Search Engine (recommended by other forum members) I have listed all the casualties who were 21st Bn at the time of death and all the ones in the series C/12000 -C/13100 who started out with the 21st Bn but died when serving with another Bn, but haven't looked up all the records yet and they don't always say which company they were in.

Now I remember where there's a Jackson on this thread - Rfn Joe Jackson is in the back row of the Helmsley photograph with the Countess. I see he's mentioned in the notes Michael Hickes appended to Dennis's book, wounded at Flers but evidently survived the war. His parents lived in Market Place, Helmsley.

But then, surely your Jackson in B Company is a different one? The Helmsley men were the core of A Company, you might say. It would be very surprising if Joe was not. Someone captioned that Helmsley picture 'A Company', too (EDIT but that could have been a later addition).


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Hi Liz, I will try and find out how to copy the photo. It is quite large and clear. Lt Brooksbank is the platoon commander. (there was a similar photo on E-bay about three years ago with Joe Chapman on it. Unfortunately I was outbid - but it must be out there somewhere!!). I do have the photos of graves somewhere, but most probably in attic!! Will try and search them out, but always gave a copy to gerald, so maybe michael Hickes has them. You have details of the killed? One anecdote of Geralds (which alwaqys struck me as tragic) was of a photo of a grave at Rifle House Cemetery at Plugstreet. gerald told me the story of the 10 Royal Scots he had seen on his first trip to the line. I visited the cemetery and sure enough there were the 10 buried together. (Remember this was before there was on-line stuff). There was another Yeoman (Machin?) and another called Goldberg. On return, I showed Gerald the pictures and he said, "Poor Goldberg. I had forgotten about him". He went on to relate that "poor" Goldbergs death had caused a lot of ill feeling in the Battalion. There had been a trench with a barricade at either end, one held by us and the other by the Germans. The german barricade had been silent for days, so the order came up for a volunteer to approach it and see whether they had abandoned it. The boys in the front knew that they were still there, but the order had to be carried out. However, no one would volunteer, so Goldberg was ordered to go. Everyone knew it was certain death - as did Goldberg I suppose - but he climbed over and went forward, only to be immediately shot down. The resentment, according to gerald, at the stupid waste of a life, ran deep for a long time. Yes, it was the RGJ museum he sent the badges to and he wrote to them about it,m but they denied ever receiving them. Shame. Hope I am not repeating this stuff too!! Lol! Yours aye, Jim K

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Liz in Eastbourne

Jim - no, you are not repeating anything! This is all fascinating. I can imagine the impact of seeing the Royal Scots' graves: that was a horrible story in the book. The fate of the ten Germans bayoneted to death was equally shocking.

No rush about the photo, Christmas is coming and I intend to disappear for ten days or so after Monday (snow permitting) as no doubt will many others.

But I must just exchange the information I have about Goldberg - I certainly didn't know that very sad story, you might be the only person who knows it as Gerald Dennis told you in person. Dennis did write about Machin.

I noticed his name - unlikely to be a northern farmer - and death before Flers, so had looked him up before on Ancestry and the 1911 Census. These are the main details I found (as you say, so much easier now it's on line).

Herbert Goldberg

Born January 1896

Address in 1915: 69 Bayswater Road, Hare Hills, Leeds

Occupation: Student

Religion (as given on attestation): Hebrew

Father: Julius Goldberg. Born Savel, Russia c 1869, naturalised British subject. Occupation: Tailor's machinist in wholesale clothing.

Mother: Elizabeth Goldberg. Born Manchester c 1877

Herbert was the eldest child. Two out of five children had died by 1911, and another appears to have died after that, but there were two more brothers born after 1911, Edward and Cyril, and his sister Ruby (born 1908) who were all surviving in 1919 when the Relatives form was filled in (witnessed by the C of E vicar, interestingly). They were all born in Leeds.

Goldberg enlisted at Leeds in December 1915, approved by Feversham at Helmsley, was promoted Lance Corporal unpaid 19.1.1916, paid 13.3.1916.(His MIC wrongly says Pte - all the other records are very clear, he was never demoted). Service no C/12695.

He had a clean Conduct Sheet and was in B Company.

He was 5'10" (taller than most) with a good physique according to his medical form.

The CWGC details say he was killed on 9th June but this seems to be wrong - all the records say 11th June, as does SDGW.

Poor Goldberg, indeed.

Thanks for telling us about what happened to him.


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Liz in Eastbourne

Christmas has caught up with me, or at least, the need to depart for Gatwick Airport in some trepidation (at least it's not Heathrow)...and I haven't got anywhere near writing about all the officers in the photograph, not to mention the OBLI obituary for Foljambe I now have, and an update on Hervey because Perth Digger has kindly sent me highlights from his military record...

Oh well, best wishes everyone for a very happy Christmas, and as far as I'm concerned, it'll be just before the New Year when I resume.

Till then I hereby ban myself from the forum.


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  • 2 weeks later...
Liz in Eastbourne

Happy New Year, everybody - and thanks for your good wishes, Nigel and Mike, I did get away and back with no problems and hope you too had a good Christmas.

So back to the Yeoman Rifles officers!

Temp. 2nd Lieut. Robert William Rowland Law (later MC and Captain). Wounded at Flers 15 Sept 1916


Second from left in the photograph, back row.

Law was (according to the 1919 engagement notice in The Times) elder son of the late William Law, of Colombo, Ceylon, who was probably a tea and/or coffee planter, and helped found the Colombo Golf Club, and of Mrs Law, about whom I have found nothing. Law's earlier life too is hard to find online, probably because he was born in Ceylon, though I would guess he went to an English public school. He was older, at 34, than most of the 2nd Lieutenants in the photograph; he was born on 20 Sept 1881, according to his 1975 death details on Ancestry, so his public school years would not include 1891 or 1901, and I have found no census records.

He has already been noticed on this thread (see page 4) because of the bravery he showed on the night of the trench raid, 10th –11th July 1916, for which he was awarded the Military Cross. The Nominal Roll for the raid shows that he was with A Company; he was leading a group of NCOs and Riflemen from all four companies. I haven't found his MC announcement or citation and would be very grateful if someone better at London Gazette searches could find it.

He was wounded at Flers (War Diary Sept 1916 and KRRC Casualty List 1916) and may not have returned to the Yeoman Rifles when he recovered.

The London Gazette entries I have found are as follows.

10 Nov. 1916
Temp. Lt R W R Law to be actg Capt whilst cmdg a Co. 8th Aug 1916.
15 Nov 1916
The undermentioned to relinquish the actg rank of Capt on ceasing to comd a Co: -
15 Sept 1916
Temp Lt R W R Law.
12 Oct 1917
Temp Lt R W R Law MC from a Serv. Bn. to be Temp. Lt (attd) 9 July 1917, with seniority from 1 Feb 1915.
14 May 1918
Staff Capts
Temp Lt R W R Law MC, attd KR Rif C, to be transferred to Gen. List , and to be temp Capt whilst so empld, vice Capt HS Johnson, W York R, 28th Apr 1918.
17 Sept 1918
Temp Lt (Temp Capt) R W R Law MC to be Temp Capt Gen List 1st May 1918
12 Sept 1919 Temp Capt RWR Law OBE MC to relinquish commission on completion of service and retain rank of Captain.

Which battalion he was attached to from July 1917 to April 1918 would be interesting to know.

The Times of December 16 1919 contains an engagement announcement:

Capt R W R Law (late KRRC) OBE, MC, elder son of the late William Law, of Colombo, Ceylon, and Mrs Law, and Ethel Mary, only daughter of James Forbes, of Mount Grace, Potters Bar.

Mrs Law was related to Admiral of the Fleet Sir Charles Forbes (also born in Ceylon, according to Wikipedia), whose funeral the Laws attended among the principal family mourners in September 1960.

After the war – judging from occasional mentions in The Times - the Laws led a comfortable life in London. Whether they had children I have not discovered. Mrs Law was presented at court in June 1922 and her dress was described in detail in a special fashion report – 'an ivory georgette gown richly embroidered with seed pearls over shell pink, silver and gold', with a 'train of gold lace, lined with pink chiffon', made by Jessie Hall of 41 Curzon Street.

Law was treasurer of the London Chamber of Commerce (1946), and a director of Barclay Perkins Ltd till 1947. As late as January 1970, when he was 88, he was Chairman of The Plymouth Breweries. He died in London in 1975.


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Welcome back, Liz.

I have sent over the remainder of the individual studies of the officers for you to work through.



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A happy New Year to you, too, Liz, and all other Pals. I'm off tomorrow for a cruise around the Land of the Long White Cloud, so will be offline for a fortnight (unless I can sneak onto a computer somewhere!).

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Liz in Eastbourne

Enjoy your cruise, Mike (lucky man) and thank you for the photo clips of the individual officers, Nigel - I'll go back and put them into the accounts I've already written before pushing on. It makes a big difference to have them, especially as the group photo is now on the previous page.


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Liz in Eastbourne

Temporary Second Lieutenant John Newton Waldy (later Captain) Wounded at Flers 15 September 1916

Fourth from left in the Yeoman Rifles officers' group photograph on the preceding page of this thread, back row.


Waldy was in C Company with Eden, who does not mention him, and Dennis, who does. Other sources are the usual: Ancestry and 1911 census records, The Times Digital Archive and the London Gazette online. His background is not as solidly 'Northumberland farming' as Dennis's reference suggests, though he was indeed a Northumberland farmer, but illustrates the mobility of the Victorian middle classes. I include a number of family details to help family researchers to find these connections.

John Waldy was born in 1884 in Horsley Woodhouse, Derbyshire, where his father, Arthur Garmondsway Waldy, was Vicar. Arthur Waldy (1851-1915) was born in Egglescliffe, Durham and his wife Caroline (née Newton, 1858 -1947) in Whorlton, Potto, North Yorkshire. Arthur Waldy's father too was a clergyman. Caroline Waldy's family, John Fendle Newton (Middlesex-born,1812 -1877), tax collector and agent, and Harriet Newton, their eight daughters and two sons, were living at Potto Grange with five servants in 1871. It seems that they also farmed, since the widowed Mrs Newton was described as farming there in 1881, before moving back to her county of birth, Shropshire.

John seems to have been the second of the Waldys' six children: Emily, who died aged 7 in January 1890, preceded him, and after him came Violet Mary, who was 3 at the census of 1891, Roland Gray, Cuthbert Temple and Dorothy Elizabeth Waldy. In 1891 the family – parents, three children and Mrs Waldy's elder sister Laura - were living in Horsley Woodhouse Rectory with a nurse and a groom, but no other servants, and with coalminers and textile workers as neighbours.

John went to Haileybury College (1901 census record) and in September 1908, at 24, married Mabel, daughter of John Robson of Newton Bellingham, Northumberland. Possibly he had already started farming in the area when he met his wife there. They had a son on 19 November 1909, when their address was Redhough, Bellingham, and the 1911 census record shows the family there, Waldy as Farmer, Mabel his wife of two years, their son Richard John Garmondsway aged 1, plus five others: John's sister Violet Mary, aged 23, a nurse domestic, a general domestic servant, a farm student aged 19, and a farm labourer. His father was by 1891 Rector of Yarm, North Yorkshire, very near his wife Caroline's old home at Potto.

Like his fellow subalterns James Anderson and Anthony Eden, John Waldy had suffered the loss of a brother in the war before he joined the Yeoman Rifles. His youngest brother Cuthbert, educated at Marlborough College, had received a commission in the Reserve of Officers in 1912 and was killed in action with the 2nd Battalion South Lancashire Regiment on 20 October 1914.

GV Dennis notes in his book A Kitchener Man's Bit (p 11) that at the outset at Helmsley in December 1915 'J. Waldy of Morpeth (Thropton)' was a junior officer in 'C' Company with O. Coates (but I think this is an error – the Coates in the photo and the KRRC list of officers wounded in 1916 has the initials JB, and was with 'D' Company, and besides Dennis himself adds Yeaman as junior officer for no 10 platoon), A. Eden (no. 9 Platoon) and C. Thorpe (No 12). Waldy was No. 11 platoon officer, 'short and stolid and evidently coming from farming' (p14). That accounts, if I've understood the organisation of companies correctly, for the subalterns of the four platoons of 'C' Company in the early days.

Waldy was wounded at Flers on 15 Sept 1916: he is on the KRRC wounded list in The Times of 30 September along with Baxter, Jones and Yateman. It was nearly seven months before he returned.

In April 1917 'two officers, wounded earlier, returned to the battalion - Captain Patch W. and 2nd Lt Waldy, a popular 'C' Company sub' (p 142). In July 1917 'C' Company had 'eighty originals including two officers (Lt Eden and Lt Waldy, who was wounded on the Somme and returned to us)' (p 163). He points out that of course each company had been over two hundred strong when they came out fourteen months earlier.

Waldy's sister Violet Mary joined the Women's Royal Naval Service and in 1918 was appointed a Deputy Principal.

The London Gazette entries I have found are as follows.

13 Jan 1916

…to be Temporary Second Lieutenant (28 Dec 1915)

30 August 1917

…to be Temporary Lieutenant (March 11 1917)

His medal card shows 'T/Capt' with the 'T' crossed out, so I guess that he, like several others, was allowed to retain the title after the war, though I haven't found this London Gazette entry. I also do not know where he went after the Yeoman rifles were disbanded in March 1918.

John Waldy died in Northumberland in 1953. He and his wife had another son in June 1919, but I have no further details of their family or later life.


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Liz in Eastbourne

Lieut. James Bertram Coates (seconded from The Queen's Royal West Surrey Regiment; later Captain, and much later Colonel, CBE, MC)

Wounded at Flers, 15 September 1916


Second from left in the group photograph, middle row. Thanks as before to Nigel Marshall for cropping this individual portrait from it.

I decided to look at Coates next after the comment I had made in my last post about Dennis's erroneous reference to an O. Coates being a junior officer in C Company at the outset at Duncombe Park. I have not found any KRRC officer named O Coates – though there was a Lieutenant O M Fry among the original officers in the 1916 photograph, to be mentioned later – so this must be regarded as a simple error and not a confusion caused by two officers having the same name as was the case with the Burtons. It isn't surprising that there should be a few slips: his diary started later, when they were in the field, his book based on the diary was written over a decade later and edited decades later still, and as we all know memory can be misleading.

J B Coates turns out to be an interesting officer, and I am now sure that he is James Bertram Coates of The Queen's Royal West Surrey Regiment. Several Forum members, especially David Underdown, Steve E and 'Bootneck', have kindly assisted me in researching him on three threads Lt JB Coates , MC and citation and 2nd Bn QRWS from which I will set out his story chronologically and highlight the most important evidence. I haven't specified who kindly supplied what help here to save space but the other threads reveal all.

It is just possible to see from the digital version of group photograph that he is from another regiment as he has a different cap badge from the KRRC officers and insignia on his collar (as have several other officers), where the KRRC men have none. They are not easy to identify here but on close inspection of the 'original' (a good hard copy from the RGJ Museum at Winchester), I can see the distinctive shape of the Paschal Lamb or 'Lamb and Flag' belonging to the Queen's Royal West Surrey Regiment.

J B Coates was a few months younger than Eden, who was called 'The Boy' because he was so young – only 18 like him and yet he had been commissioned from Sandhurst a year earlier and served with the Queen's through some harrowing action on the Western Front, ended by his being wounded in May 1915. I suspect he just didn't seem as young as Eden or the other school-leavers, and of course he was already a Lieutenant.

James was born on 24th September 1897 in Chorlton, Lancashire, the eldest son of Dr William Coates FRCS (later Sir William Coates KCB CBE DL) and his wife Leonora, of Whalley Grange, Manchester. His father was a Captain in the 20th Lancashire Volunteer Corps (later Manchester Regiment Territorial Army) and during the Great War was Assistant Director of Medical Services for the Western Front. He continued to work as a surgeon and in the Territorial Army till 1946 and died at the age of 102 in 1962. ¹

Educated at Marlborough till he was 16 and then at Sandhurst², J.B Coates was commissioned into the Queen's Royal West Surrey Regiment in November 1914 (LG 10 Nov) and went to France as a 2nd Lieutenant on 23 November, joining the 2nd Bn on 26th November, at the age of only 17.

His battalion had just suffered heavy losses in First Ypres when he arrived at La Boutillerie to join D Company, and were about to suffer more in the failed attack on 18 December at Well Farm, which must have been his first real experience of the slaughter. The Queen's 2nd Battalion's War Diary records how the officers met their German counterparts during the Christmas truce a week later.

He remained with them until 18 May 1915³ after being wounded during the attack at Festubert.

The date of his secondment to the KRRC³ escapes me despite much advice on how to negotiate the odd habits of the London Gazette search engine, but it was obviously after October 1915, when the raising of the battalion was announced, and before February 1916, when this photograph was taken. He took over command of D Company on 29 July 1916 (LG 27 Oct 1916) - I am not sure from whom. EDIT Possibly it was Gerald Burton, if my revised opinion is correct that Burton might have been fairly seriously hurt in the incident in July referred to in the account of him above, discussed #155..

Six weeks later he was wounded at Flers. The 1916 casualty list for the 21st Battalion KRRC shows Capt J B Coates wounded; the September 1916 War Diary lists him as wounded and on Sept 19th there is the entry 'Lt Sheardown took over the command of D Coy vice Capt Coates wounded' (as discussed on p 3 of this thread). This appears to have marked the end of Coates' secondment to the KRRC.

LG #29825 15 November 1916


The undermentioned to relinquish the actg rank of Capt on ceasing to comd a Co.

15 Sep 1916

Lt J B Coates (R. W Surr. R)

LG #30377 13 Nov 1917

RW Surr. R

The undermentioned Lts to be Capts:- 27th Aug. 1917

J B COates

His MIC makes no mention of his KRRC attachment, only of the Queen's Royal West Surrey Regiment.

In the King's Birthday Honours of 1919 Coates was awarded the Military Cross in connection with the military operations in Italy of 1918. (LG # 31372, 3 June 1919).

Coates was later an instructor at Sandhurst, served in India with the 1st Battalion The Queen's Royal Regt and commanded the battalion1938-40, was GSO 9th Indian Division and GSO (Ops) Eastern Army 1942) and finally retired from the army in 1947. ¹

He was married to Dorothy Catherine, daughter of Maj-Gen GTC Carter-Campbell, CBE, DSO, in 1929, divorced 1939, according to Burkes Landed Gentry online, and there is a Times announcement on 13 Nov 1962 of his son James's forthcoming marriage. He was awarded the CBE in the New Year Honours List of 1952.

¹The information about Sir William Coates comes from the Manchester website


and accords with several Times and London Gazette mentions, but I have not researched him in depth.

Brief details of Col JB Coates's career, a later photograph and a reference to his obituary in the QRS Regimental Association Newsletter Nov 1988, can be found on the Queen's Royal Surreys website


²Sandhurst gentleman cadet details are now searchable online. I see that Coates' time there was less than a year (perhaps all the standard officer training courses were? or did they cut it a bit shorter when war was declared?), as it was all in 1914. The archivist tells me there is a photograph of him in a group which can be ordered as can more details of his time there, if anyone else wishes to pursue Coates's career more fully.

³ Army List 1922 for secondment, and Queen's nominal roll, Surrey History Centre: ref 8227/1/3 for dates.

Edited by Liz in Eastbourne
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Liz in Eastbourne

Temporary 2nd Lieutenant Philip Allsworth Jones

Died of wounds after Flers


Standing in the middle row of the group photograph, immediately behind the Earl of Feversham.

Philip Allsworth Jones was another of the new officers in the Yeoman Rifles who was not from a wealthy, landed background, nor from a family with a military tradition. His family are a good example of the way many people were able to move socially and geographically in the Victorian age, rising to be professional-middle-class. His death seems particularly sad, as he was married and had two baby sons.

As Eden wrote:

'Whatever we youngsters may have felt about returning to battle, we had no claim to sympathy compared with the married officer. For him and his wife it really did hurt, with an added haunting fear if they had young children and the young soldier, sailor or airman were the breadwinner. Theirs was the true courage.' (Another World p. 128)

Philip was born in Wickhambrook, Suffolk, in 1885, son of a doctor, John Matthews Jones (who was son of an innkeeper in Dolgelley, Merionethshire, in Welsh-speaking north Wales), and his Kent-born wife Georgina (nee Cutbush, also an innkeeper's daughter). His father had evidently gone there as a medical assistant (1881 census) and all the children, Lewis Griffith (born 1880) and younger sisters Dorothy and Bertha, were also born there. By 1901 the family had returned to Merionethshire and were in Llantsanfraid. Philip had been given names from his English mother's family, Allsworth being her mother's maiden name, his elder brother Lewis from his Welsh father's family.

In 1901, aged 15, he was a boarder at a small school in Bala. In 1911 at 25 he lived alone in rented rooms in Cardiff and was a bank cashier (his parents were still in Llantsanfraid); that census record shows that he spoke only English, though his father was bilingual. In 1913 he married Mary Winifred Hertz. Her father was born in Copenhagen but naturalized British, and worked for a steamship company in Cardiff, and her mother was from a seafaring family in Seaham Harbour, Durham.

When war broke out in August 1914 Philip volunteered for the Gloucester Regiment in Bristol. He was obviously able and soon promoted to Lance- Corporal, and then obtained a commission in the King's Royal Rifle Corps, first to the 15th Battalion (London Gazette 29242 of 27 July 1915). Thanks to a great labour of love by 'high wood' of this forum, who in a thread in 2008 identified the men on a photograph of a group of new officers from different regiments apparently at the end of a training course in 1915, and has now kindly provided me with a blown-up clip, we can see an even better picture of the new 2/Lt. Philip Allsworth Jones, looking very upright and proud.


I do not yet know which company of the 21st Battalion he was attached to, but it was probably D, by a process of elimination and the fact that his origins were not northern but Welsh/southern English. He was probably leading a platoon at Flers on 15th September. GV Dennis, one of whose close friends was a stretcher-bearer that day while another, a bugler, was helping with casualties at the First Aid Post, describes what it was like in the aftermath of the battalion's first 'stunt', and mentions Philip Jones briefly:

'In the meantime throughout the morning and afternoon of the 15th, our First Aid Post had been exceedingly busy. At first our popular Canadian Doctor Hart quickly dealt with the walking wounded…His augmented staff worked very hard and especially the helpers like the buglers, other bandsmen, pioneers and other specialists. The medical staff, standing in a narrow trench with scarcely any protection, attended to the waiting casualties.
Lying there were others who had been carried there by our own stretcher-bearers, all showing such wonderful patience as they waited to be seen by the MO. Blood-stained tunics, trousers and puttees were being ripped off, shirts, pants and socks torn away with fevered haste to find the injuries. Iodine splashed on a field dressing was applied to a wound or a hastily contrived splint as required. A cheery word too, and then 'Next, please'. Those who could walk were told to find their way to the Dressing Station.
Stretcher cases were made as comfortable as possible and laid down in what shelter could be found. Lt Jones had been brought in, shot through both legs, and so had the Sergeant-Major of HQ…'

As we have already discussed on p 3 of this thread, there were 4 officers and 54 other ranks of the Yeoman Rifles killed that day (plus 70 other ranks missing, all or nearly all of whom were in fact killed) and 10 officers and 256 other ranks wounded, a number of whom died later.

Because an artillery battery had been moved close by, shells began falling uncomfortably close and the MO had to try to get the seriously wounded moved, a difficult task as stretchers were in short supply. Towards the end of the afternoon the horse-drawn ammunition limbers started taking the wounded back with them to the camp.

'Great joy was shown when a little later a Ford ambulance bumped up to the aid post and a few of the worst cases were got away. A shuttle service followed and soon most of our severe cases were taken to the Field Dressing Station. No praise would be too great for the way in which the 'doc', his staff and the stretcher-bearers worked that day and night.' (
A Kitchener Man's Bit
, pp 85-6.)

Philip Allsworth Jones died from his wounds twelve days later on 27 Sept 1916 and is buried in Heilly Station Cemetery. The CWGC record shows his parents as Dr and Mrs Griffith Jones: this may be an error, as his elder brother was called Lewis Griffith Jones and may have decided to use the middle name as part of his surname, as the Allsworth Joneses had done. Philip's father died in 1923 and his elder brother (who was a teacher in London in 1901, and a clergyman in Liverpool in 1911) may have dealt with the Imperial (as it was then) WGC. EDIT In fact his brother Lewis had died in 1913, so this guess is wrong.

He left behind a widow with two sons. Leonard Allsworth Jones was born in Bristol in 1914 (reg. last quarter), so was not yet two years old. He later became an army officer and served with distinction in WW2, winning the Military Cross in Burma as a Major in the 1st Bn 17th Dogra Regiment, Indian Army (London Gazette 27 July 1944).

Lewis Allsworth Jones, whose birth was registered in Cardiff in July-September 1916 (the exact date is unknown so I do not know whether his father could have known he had another son) joined the Navy and in April 1940 was killed in action serving in the submarine 'Thistle' in the Norwegian campaign. He had married in 1938, and had a son born a few months before his death.

(Ancestry, Times and CWGC records.)

Edited by Liz in Eastbourne
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Hi Liz, Sorry but my efforts to photograph the photograph has not gone well!! I will keep trying. for your info: it is of No7 Platoon, B company and was taken by F Soovell, Aldershot 1916. There are Riflemen: Johnson, Speed, S.Barrett, Byford, Russon, Coates, Thomas, Goodall, A.Tindall,Ellis, Dally, E C Nicholson. S Nicholson,Arnott,Jackson, Raper, Birch, Ward, H Tindall,Hart, L Barrett,Poole, Williamson,Berry, Sykes,Rushworth, Aspinall, Dobson, Broadbent,Longbottom,Pulford, Grievson,Greaves, Sayer, Dyson, Stead, J T Taylor,Attenborough,Farrar, Gascoyne and Ingle. L.Corps Potter, Bonsall and Sharman. Corps Jennings, Taylor and Burrows. Sergt Stokes and CQMS Cowling. Lt L Brooksbank. Any tips on how to photo a photo? Also, I noted a short story by Corp. Robert William Iley, MM, who states he was one of the party who recovered Lord Fevershams body. Yours aye, Jim K

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Rfn Johnson (assumining he is the correct one) was my reason for posting on this thread. Seeing a photo of him would be rather a special moment.

I hope you're able to get a result with photographing it somehow.



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Liz in Eastbourne

Hello Jim

You must know I am one of the least techie people here but what I did was trot along to a photographic shop and get them to scan it on to a CD, plus some enlargements of sections. Then I put it on the Photobucket site and with help from another forum member which I'd be happy to pass on, was able to post it easily. Mind you I then got help from Nigel who did the individual clips of faces...

Now I've finally bought a scanner so hope to improve in these matters, but getting it done by a shop is easy and not expensive. Please pm me with the details and I feel sure between us we can do it.

I think the Iley account is one we've mentioned, A Runner's Story; someone's posted it on the forum. I'll see if I can find it again. Yes, he was one of the burial party for Lord Feversham - Eden who led the party says so too.

The photo has several men whose names we know and as I think I mentioned one of them is probably Nigel 's Richard Fisher Johnson, whose grave he showed early in this thread.

As you can see I am still going through the officers on their group photo (meant to finish before Christmas!) so hold off posting yours anyway for a week or so or we'll get confused!

I've just seen Nigel has posted re Rfn Johnson.


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I had better get a move on and put up at least something about the rest of these officers so that we can look at Jim's photograph very soon. I hope other people may add more later if not now.

Temporary Lieutenant George Edwin Potter (later MC, and Major) EDIT: NOT Gerald Ernest as previously stated!)

Transport Officer


Lt Potter, in the middle of the back row, seems to dominate the group as much as the Colonel and his deputy in the front row. It appears that he was indeed a strong and popular character. Both Eden and Dennis mention him; Eden:

'Our transport officer was a personality. A former squadron sergeant-major of the Seventh Hussars, brought along with him by our colonel [the Earl of Feversham], he knew all that was to be known about horses, mules and wagons and not a little about humans.
Everything about Potter was of generous proportions, including his weight, so that he was quite a problem to mount. However, a good strong beast was found and astride this Potter was to be seen in all weathers and all conditions at home and overseas, imperturbably doing more than his job so that the transport section should not fail us. It never did.'
Another World
pp 73-4)

Eden then describes how Potter let him ride his horse at Aldershot and one day after a vaccination which had left his arm painful he couldn't control it and returned it to Potter's groom in a lather. Eden was in trouble for disobeying the doctor's instructions but Potter made no complaint about him, and to his relief Eden was not left behind with the reserve battalion as he had feared. He continued to ride Potter's horse in competitions – Potter's weight was obviously too much of a handicap for any horse. He mentions him again in writing about Sept/Oct 1916:

'…I remained faithful to Potter's powerful horse for any jumping competitions that came along during the nine months I was still to be with the battalion. All that time we never did better than be equal first and then lose on the jump-off, but Potter remained tolerant of his jockey until the end.'
Op. cit.
p 102-3)

Dennis mentions him less personally but showing his role.

At Ploegsteert Wood, some time in June or July 1916:

'On two occasions when we were out at rest at Papot, Jerry shelled the Transport, once rather heavily and the other time just lightly. During the former shelling the women of the village were greatly scared and cleared off along the roads and returned when the strafe was over. Captain Potter had ordered all the mules and horses to be taken away from the lines. They were brought back when the strafe was over.'
(A Kitchener Man's Bit
p 67)

Between Flers and Gird Ridge:

'One lovely afternoon my platoon officer, Darkie Cole, and another one of 'D' Company were detailed to go to a certain map reference where they would find the headquarters of the New Zealanders. Lieutenant (later Captain) Potter of the Transport Section lent them a couple of nags, usually used as pack animals, and they rode off in great style.'
Op. cit
. p 93)

Potter's wartime career can be traced through the London Gazette entries but I have been unable to find any birth, death, marriage or census records for him on Ancestry. On the assumption that he was 50 when he was taken off the reserve list in 1927, he must have been born in 1877, making him 38 in 1915, which looking at the photograph seems about right. The only Gerald Ernest I have found, however, was born in 1891, and is thus too young. (This may be the GE Potter who surfaces later in the war in the Lincolnshire Regiment.) Our Potter may have been born and brought up abroad, for example to an Indian army family. (EDIT I confused myself with this Gerald Ernest Potter - see subsequent posts!)

The two MICs I have found show only that he was a Hussars officer mentioned in despatches twice. I cannot find these Gazette entries, nor the MC which he was certainly awarded, evidently in 1917 or 1918, presumably with the Yeoman Rifles. These entries also mystify me with the way in which he seems to yo-yo from 2nd Lt to Capt and back again and then ends up Major. It seems to be connected with his return to the Hussars when the 21st Battalion was disbanded in March 1918.

LG 29633 20 June 1916

K. R. Rif. C.

2nd Lt. G. E. Potter (7th Hrs.). to be

temp. Lt. for duty as Transport Officer.

24 Jan. 1916. [The photo identifications give him as 2/Lt but this is evidently mistaken at this date, Feb. 1916.]

LG 30260 28 Aug 1917

K. R. Rif. C.

Temp. Lt. G. E. Potter to be temp. Capt.

11 Mar. 1917

LG 30657 26 April 1918

The undermentioned 2nd Lts. to be

Lts.: —


Hrs.—G. E. Potter. 19th July 1917.

LG 30710 28 May 1918

2nd Lt. G. E. Potter, M.C. (Hrs.), from

temp. Capt., a Serv: Bn., K.R. Rif. C., to

be 2nd Lt. 17 Mar. 1918, with seniority 19

Jan. -.1916.

LG 31976 9 July 1920


7th Hrs.—Lt. G. E. Potter, M.C., is secd, for

service on the Staff. 29th Jan. 1920.

LG 31786 17 Feb 1920



Asst. Prov. Marshal (CL FF).

G. E.Potter, M.C.,7th Hrs., and M.G. Corps,

and to be temp. Maj. whilst so empld., vice

Capt. E. M. Allfrey, D.S.O., R. Berks. R.,

who relinquishes the temp. rank of Maj.

29th Jan. 1920

LG 31817 9 March 1920

Dec. 1919.

Lt. G. E. Potter, M.C. (7th Hrs.), ceases

to be empld. with the Corps. 29 Jan. 1920

The Times 9 Sept 1922 quotes the LG of 8 Sept 1922:


7th H. – Lt GE Potter, MC (secd Staff), having attained the age fixed for compulsory retirement, is placed on ret. Pay (Sept. 7) and is granted the rank of Maj, wih seny. July 7, 1921

On 12 Oct 1927 he ceased to be on the reserve list of officers.

EDIT See more details about Potter in the next few posts.

Edited by Liz in Eastbourne
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This may come as a surprise.

There is an MC here to a 2nd Lt. (T/Capt) George Edwin Potter, Hrs, attd KRRC.

Are you certain about Gerald Ernest?

Where does this come from, Liz?



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Here is the MIC for the campaign medals to George Edwin Potter. I think you'll agree there is a good fit with the officer you have in post #174. There is even a note detailing the issue of 'emblems' which are the Mention in Despatches Oakleaf.



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