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Remembered Today:

21st Battalion KRRC - the original Yeomen


Liz in Eastbourne

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Liz in Eastbourne

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?

Aargh! Nigel...you are right. More haste, less speed...I was trying out different names and at first thought the younger Gerald Ernest, who was in Yorkshire in 1901, was my man. I then went on for a bit and by the time I decided he wasn't, I forgot that those census returns were the only source for the assumption of the names Gerald Ernest. Neither of the books, nor the other two MICs (which are also for him but don't say much) give his names.

Thank you for finding this - now perhaps some of the other details will emerge!

Liz

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Liz in Eastbourne

Liz,

One of the Mentions is at http://www.london-ga...supplements/206

The other is at http://www.london-ga...pplements/12925

The MC is proving to be a little more elusive!

Thank you for these, too!

Another educational experience - the other two MICs actually give the dates of the LGs and page numbers but when I searched on them I drew a blank.

This, I now realise, was because the dates of the Gazettes in whose supplements the entries occurred were 2.1.17 and 7.12.17 not 4.1.17 and 11.12.17.

Your close attention to nice generous Lt Potter is proving very useful.

Liz

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Here is the commissioning notice for Sergeant Major George Edwin Potter, 7th Hussars.

Note the date is January 1916 and this would fit with the date of the photo being February and him being a second lieutenant.

Cheers,

Nigel

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Liz in Eastbourne

That's brilliant too, Nigel - and guess what, he was born in Eastbourne!

In 1879, not 1877, but it's definitely him in the 1911 census in York, occupation Squadron Sergeant Major, Permanent Staff, Yorkshire Hussars Yeomanry.

And there was I blethering on about him being overseas...It didn't feel right for a Yeomanry man, did it? I shall have to look up the earlier censuses tomorrow, I'm no good at late nights.

EDIT In fact of course he was a cavalryman, a regular soldier, and may well have been overseas in 1901.

Well, that's a relief. Thanks again. Amazing how I could have led myself into a non-existent brick wall like that.

Liz

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George Potter being permanent staff to the Yorkshire Hussars Yeomanry fits very nicely with Lt Colonel The Earl of Feversham's previous incarnation as their Commanding Officer. He would have known Potter for the length of his attachment to the Yeomanry and as the two men went to France with the Yorkshire Hussars, Feversham would have seen the capabilities of Potter at war. I don't think it is stretching the imagination too far to suggest that when the colonel was asked to raise a battalion of Riflemen, he might have asked for Potter to go with him.

North Parade in York where Potter is shown on the 1911 Census is still in existence.

Cheers,

Nigel

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George and Flora married in Daventry in Northamptonshire in the fourth quarter of 1909. The reference on the register is 1909 4/4 Daventry Vol 3b p.235.

Cheers,

Nigel

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Liz in Eastbourne

George Potter being permanent staff to the Yorkshire Hussars Yeomanry fits very nicely with Lt Colonel The Earl of Feversham's previous incarnation as their Commanding Officer. He would have known Potter for the length of his attachment to the Yeomanry and as the two men went to France with the Yorkshire Hussars, Feversham would have seen the capabilities of Potter at war. I don't think it is stretching the imagination too far to suggest that when the colonel was asked to raise a battalion of Riflemen, he might have asked for Potter to go with him.

North Parade in York where Potter is shown on the 1911 Census is still in existence.

Nigel

Yes, Eden actually says - in brief - that that is what happened, in the quote I gave from the book.

I have kept off the computer all day, as I thought my brain obviously needed de-fuddling in the open air, but now I'm going after those other details! Did you notice Flora's maiden name must have been Bowl - as it was the surname of her younger sister, who was staying with them in York? Isn't Flora Bowl a lovely name for Potter's wife?

Next time I am in York I'll look for his house.

I shall provide a couple of edits to my original post, not to confuse the discussion but just to refer later readers forwards to your clarification.

Liz

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Liz in Eastbourne

Please scrutinise this supplementary text re GEORGE EDWIN POTTER as closely as you did the previous one, Nigel - and anyone else!

Having the right details (albeit limited) of Potter's earlier life shows up his ability even more than before. He came from a respectable working-class family in Sussex – born and brought up on the east side of Eastbourne, one of the most rigidly class-zoned towns in Victorian England, where that signified working-class (1881, 1891 census records).

His father George was a gas and later also electrical fitter, born and brought up in East Grinstead, where his grandfather (i.e. father of George senior) had been a master blacksmith (1861census). In 1901, when he was 21, George Edwin was for the first time not on the family census record. The family were at an address on Seaside (actually just inland from the coast road) with five of the children still at home, father still working as a fitter, daughters a domestic nurse and a dressmaker, one son a grocer's apprentice and two still at school.

My guess is that Potter had already enlisted with the 7th Queen's Own Hussars and was in South Africa. How he came to enlist with the regiment would be interesting to know. I have looked up the regimental website and it appears to have been a very fashionable cavalry regiment (the 'Saucy Seventh') with its headquarters at Warwick. EDIT How could I forget? Douglas Haig's regiment.

Then he must have been seconded to the Yorkshire Hussars some time between its formation in 1908 and 1911, when he was established with wife and child in York. His wife Flora, whom as you said, Nigel, he married in 1909 in Daventry, Northants, was born and brought up in Flore, nearby, the fourth of eight children of Thomas ('retired grocer' in 1901 and in 1911, 'gardener') and Flora Bowl. This was not far from Warwick. So I imagine Potter met her through being in Warwick with the regiment, and they moved together to York.

Charles Duncombe, Lord Helmsley as he was until 1915, was a Member of Parliament at this time and an officer in the Territorial Force. I am not sure when he assumed command of the 1st Yorkshire Hussars, of which he was certainly CO when war broke out, but he must have been very aware of Potter's ability by late 1915 when they had spent months in France.

The 1911 census shows Potter's clear and confident handwriting as well as clinching the identification with his precise description of himself, Squadron Sergeant Major Instructor, Permanent Staff, Yorkshire Hussars, Yeomanry. He was 32, Flora was 20 and their baby son George Alwyn was four months old.

A search on the CWGC site for that son sadly proved positive.

George Alwyn Potter, Age 30, Date of death 12.4.1941,Civilian war dead, AFS fireman. Son of Major GE Potter, MC, of 186 Foleshill Road, Coventry, and of the late FA Potter; husband of MV Potter, of 42 Wyke Road, Coventry. Injured 12 April 1941, at Meadow Street, Coventry; died at Warwick Hospital.

A number of GE Potters died in the years following and I do not know which is Major Potter. It would be good to know so that local newspapers could be checked for obituaries. The Hussars might have one.

I think Eastbourne could be proud of him. (I don't come from here!)

Liz

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Liz in Eastbourne

Temporary Second Lieutenant Denis John Yeaman

Killed in action at Gird Ridge 5 -10 October 1916

Third from left, back row of the group photograph, apparently smoking a cigarette. Yeaman.jpg.a27fa61bfe3bfe1a9ab77b697806be15.jpg

Denis Yeaman was born in July 1895, in Sunderland, County Durham; his parents were David, a cement manufacturer (born in Forfar) and Katharine (née Sanger, born in Alfriston, Sussex), and he had two elder brothers, Keith Sanger, who was working with his father in 1911, and Ian David, who was a solicitor's clerk. The family lived at 34, The Avenue, Sunderland, from 1881, or earlier, to at least 1911. However, Mrs Yeaman died in 1896, the year after Denis was born, and his father did not remarry. In 1911 the father and three sons had a housekeeper and housemaid.

The only entries for him in the London Gazette I have found are:

London Gazette 29397 7 Dec 1915

The King's Royal Rifle Corps

The undermentioned temporary Second

Lieutenants to be temporary Second Lieutenants : —

Dated 22nd November, 1915.

Denis J. Yeaman, from The Northumberland Fusiliers.

LG 29426 31 Dec 1915

The King's Royal Rifle Corps.

The appointments and transfers of the

undermentioned temporary Second Lieutenants, notified in previous Gazettes, are

antedated to the 29th September, 1915, but

not to carry pay or allowances prior to the

dates specified against their names: —

Denis J. Yeaman. 22nd November,

1915.

His MIC gives his rank as 2/Lt KRRC and does not mention the Northumberland Fusiliers. Like the other Second Lieutenants he is grouped with in the Gazette, he wears the KRRC cap badge . All this appears to mean he had been transferred as opposed to attached or seconded (like Coates and others) so I am surprised that there is no obituary for Yeaman in the KRRC Chronicle for 1916 or 1917. There wasn't one for PA Jones either, but there was for Anderson and Hervey.

G.V.Dennis says that he was in charge of No 10 platoon in C Company. As previously discussed on page 3 of this thread, he was wounded at Flers, but not seriously, and returned in time for the action shortly afterwards at Gird Ridge. He was clearly this officer, though originally of C not A Company as stated in this paragraph on p 95:

'A young lieutenant of 'A' Company who had been slightly wounded on the 15th, had rejoined us the night before with a few other ranks who thought they were lucky to get back to the Yeoman Rifles. He had been hit by a shell and, when the emergency party were ordered to bury the dead, his head had to be found – it had been severed from his body and blown many yards away.'

The Gird Ridge attack took place on Saturday 7th October, having been postponed from Wednesday 4th because of the appalling rainy weather. However, the War Record and both Eden's and Dennis's books relate that throughout their time the Wood Lane area from 4th October the Yeoman Rifles were subject to increasingly heavy shell fire. Men were killed and wounded throughout the period 4th –10th October even though the main action was on 7th.

For this reason casualties are often dated 5th - 10th October, as is the case with Denis Yeaman's CWGC entry; SDGW says 10th October. Dennis's account, which gives details day by day, suggests that he was actually killed on 6th before the main action began.

Denis's only surviving brother, Lt Ian David Yeaman (of the Royal Field Artillery att. Royal Engineers, previously of the Gloucester Regiment) applied for his brother's medals in 1921 from his home in Cheltenham, which was also his father's address: he became a solicitor there. The eldest brother, Keith Sanger Yeaman, Captain in the Royal Horse Artillery and Royal Field Artillery, died in Cambridge on 5 June 1918 (CWGC).

Forum pal Hett 65 has found that Yeaman's name is on the Christ Church, Sunderland war memorial, a plaque and a cross. The church is now a Sikh Community Centre and temple. Despite his spending much time searching the local newspapers for October-November 1916 he found no mention of Yeaman's death in action, probably because the family had moved south. I had thought that since Keith was in the cement business with his father just before the war, and the family had been running that for more than thirty years, his brother's death would get a mention.

He is buried in the Guards' Cemetery , Lesboeufs. (CWGC)

Liz

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Liz in Eastbourne

Hello Nigel,

Thanks for the refs - couldn't find it in the second link, though. Weren't the two I quoted from the previous month (Dec 1915) his transfer notices? Did they repeat the same info sometimes or was it always with a slight amendment?

I should have got going a year earlier, then you could have visited Yeaman's grave, yes...never mind, perhaps someone else here will go.

I want to make a brief mention here of Temporary Second Lieutenant, later Hon. Captain Frederick William Yateman, who is not on the group photo as he arrived later, I think. We had a lot of confusion between him and Yeaman on page 3 of this thread because the War Diary listed one of the wounded at Flers as 'Yeatman'. In fact Yateman was wounded at Flers and his name was on the casualty list in both The Times and the Yorkshire Post of 30 Sept 1915, whereas Yeaman's was not. From this I would guess that Yateman was intended (I always thought that was a more likely type of error - sounds the same), not that it matters as we now know that both were wounded at Flers.

But as I said above, I couldn't find Yeaman on the Times casualty lists even in October-November, unfortunately.

I am still researching Yateman so will say a bit more later. He survived the war but was in Craiglockhart War Hospital in autumn 1918 - Silver War Badge 18.9.18.

Liz

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I'm sorry about that, Liz. I have edited the link and inserted the right one. Mr Yeaman's name is towards the bottom of the right hand column.

Cheers,

Nigel

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Liz in Eastbourne

I'm sorry about that, Liz. I have edited the link and inserted the right one. Mr Yeaman's name is towards the bottom of the right hand column.

That is quite all right Nigel but I cannot forbear to point out that that is my second one, in my main account! Cheers me up no end, I must be getting better at the LG. At least now people can see the original entry.

Liz

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Liz in Eastbourne

Major the Hon. Gerald William Frederick Savile Foljambe (Oxford and Bucks Light Infantry; later Lieut-Col and DSO, and Earl of Liverpool from 1941)

Sitting on Feversham's left in the group photo. Foljambe.jpg.1aed668d32b81f6dcbe6e72299167df0.jpg

Foljambe came from a famous military family, as discussed by Mark on page 3 of this thread, #90, but is not mentioned in the book A Family at War, by Jolyon Jackson, which I believe is based on the diaries of his cousin Francis Foljambe.

He died aged 84 in 1962, receiving a dry little obituary in the Times instead of the more adulatory one he might have had if killed in action in the Great War. The obituary in the chronicle of his own regiment is much more informative but of course gives no idea of the character who emerges in Eden's book. There is a little about his time in WW1 with the 21/KRRC, with whom he won his DSO as commanding officer at Gird Ridge. However you might think from this that he was mainly memorable as a horseman and sportsman and less outstanding as a soldier than others in his family.

Nevertheless I think it's worth posting it here for people with OBLI as well as KRRC interests, and I will post some more about him later. I have added more spacing for ease of reading on screen.

The Oxford and Bucks Light Infantry Chronicle for 1962

Obituary

Lieut-Colonel the Hon. Gerald William Frederick Savile Foljambe, DSO, third Earl of Liverpool, died at his home, Merkland, Auldgarth, Dumfries, on 27th July. He was born on May 12, 1878, the third son of the first Earl of Liverpool by his wife, Susan Louisa, eldest daughter of Lieut-Colonel WHF Cavendish of West Stoke, Sussex. His younger brother, Captain and Brevet-Major the Hon Jocelyn Charles William Savile Foljambe, sometime adjutant of the 43rd, had fallen at Sannaiyat 46 years before.

He was educated at Eton and Sandhurst, being gazetted into the Regiment on 18th February 1898: joining the 43rd at Mullangar, he literally carried his captain to victory in the officers' race, and headed the batting averages, being not out in all his 14 innings. In the abbreviated season of the next year he scored a century against the Royal Dublin Fusiliers.

He was promoted lieutenant on 21st September and sailed with the 43rd in HT Gaika for South Africa on 12th December: he served on the staff as an ADC, operations in the Orange Free State, February to May 1900, including actions at Poplar Grove; operations in the Orange River Colony, May to November 1900 and December 1900 to May 1902. For his services he received the Queen's medal with three clasps and the King's with two.

In 1903 he exchanged into the 52nd, but was posted back to the 43rd the next year on promotion to captain, which took place on 2nd January 1904. From October 1904 to August 1905 he was extra ADC to the Governor of the Bombay Presidency.

For some time he had been hoping for the adjutancy of the militia or volunteers within the regiment, but, as he was unfortunate in this respect, he accepted the appointment of adjutant of the 3rd Battalion Alexandra Princess of Wales's Own Yorkshire Regiment on 9th October 1905.

His headquarters were Richmond (Yorkshire) and he had ample opportunity there to hunt and ride in meetings. On 9th November 1910 he rejoined the 52nd, retiring from the service on 19th February 1913 after 15 years' service.

In 1914 he came back from the Reserve of officers, and after a month with the 5th (Service) Battalion, he was posted back to the 6th, with whom he went on active service to Flanders on 22nd June 1915 in the rank of major. After some months of fighting which did not include any major battles, he was appointed second in command of the 21st Battalion King's Royal Rifle Corps (Yeomen Rifles) on 19th November at the time of its formation in England. This battalion went to Flanders in May 1916 and on 16th September (sic) its commanding officer, Lord Feversham, was killed and Foljambe was promoted in his place. He was present during the heavy fighting round Flers in September and October, but on 15th January 1917 he was appointed an instructor at Aldershot, at the School for Commanding Officers.

On 1st January 1918 he was awarded the DSO for his services while a commanding officer. On 25th April 1918 he became DAD Remounts, Northern Command, and at the end of the war he retired again, serving in the Reserve of Officers till 1933. The previous year he had been appointed a JP for Leicestershire.

On 15th May 1941 he succeeded his half-brother, who had been in The Rifle Brigade, as Earl of Liverpool, with other titles. He was a most able and keen race rider and has left a record in two interesting articles in the 1926 and 1927 Chronicles.

He married on 29th July 1909 Constance Isabella, only surviving daughter of J. Holden, D.L., of Nuttall Temple, Nottinghamshire. The title has now passed to his brother.

The Sporting Life published the following appreciation shortly after his death:

"It was surprising how little notice was taken of the passing of one of the greatest sportsmen of our time – the Earl of Liverpool. He died last week at his Dumfriesshire home at the age of 84.

" I knew him for many years, writes J. F-B, but had not seen him since last August when he was staying near me with Lady Gisborough. Then we talked of other days when, as the Hon. Gerald Foljambe, he so often rode as an amateur in the north.

"Naturally, we recalled his fall at Southwell, the result of which was the amputation of a leg below the knee.

"He was riding again in a few months at first with a 'peg-leg', for which a small leather bucket was made to take the place of a stirrup.

"He rode regularly with the Cottesmore and then returned to chasing, but another bad fall, when riding his wife's 'Lady Biddy,' compelled him to hand in his colours, although he continued to ride to hounds.

"Rather a shy, retiring man, he was most modest about his own achievements, and was always most sporting about his defeats. Only those who knew him best were aware of his real worth, his generous disposition, his estimate of friendship, his concern for the underdog, and his courage through pain and illness during recent times."

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And this is the portrait of Foljambe, presumably in his 20s, accompanying his obituary in the OBLI Chronicle 1962.598ec88abbaba_LtColFoljambe.jpg.760f6d5fbaf70829e2980aed57883f96.jpg

I should add here, many thanks to Major Ken Gray (Retd.) of the Royal Green Jackets Museum, Winchester, for finding the obituary for me, sending it and giving permission for it to be posted here.

 

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George Alwyn Potter I have written about George in several of my books on Coventrys Ww2 history and have a rather good photo of him. This year a dedication will take place at his old school for a new memorial which he is named on, please PM if you would like to attend or know more.

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Liz in Eastbourne

Continuing

Major the Hon. Gerald William Frederick Savile Foljambe (later Lieut-Col and DSO)

I think this tribute to Gerald Foljambe needs a postscript even though this thread already contains many mentions of him.

The detailed account of his role in the Yeoman Rifles, and perhaps his true obituary where this part of his life is concerned, is in Anthony Eden's book, Another World, 1977, Allen Lane, London.

Eden wrote as an old man but his admiration for, and gratitude to, Foljambe is still warm. Perhaps, since Foljambe's death in 1962 had received little public notice, Eden wanted to give him a lasting tribute befitting the man he clearly regarded as the mainstay of the Yeoman Rifles in their first year.

This was partly personal. Eden was 19 in mid-1916, and apart from the fact that hundreds of his fellow Yeoman Riflemen had been killed or wounded on 15 September, he had suffered traumatic personal loss in the previous two years. His eldest brother had been killed in October 1914, his father had died in February 1915, his 16-year-old younger brother had gone down with his ship in the Battle of Jutland in May of 1916, his only other brother was interned in Germany and his commanding officer who had just been killed was an old friend of his family.

Foljambe's kindness towards Eden and his concern for the welfare not only of his men, but also of other young soldiers who needed support, is shown in several anecdotes, some already mentioned. His competence and care as well as his courage probably saved a number of lives.

Just a few of Eden's comments illustrate his attitude:

p 71

'How little we had learnt of trench warfare before we crossed the channel is illustrated by my memory of our second-in-command, Gerald Foljambe, the ablest soldier in the battalion, attempting to instruct riflemen how to set up an effective wire entanglement in a space between the support and reserve trenches, while we were actually in the line.'

pp 87-8

'Foljambe was too intelligent to tolerate officialdom in its cruder forms, nor would he acquiesce without protest in decisions he considered ill-judged. Maybe he would have held higher commands had he been less outspoken, but that, I am sure, never troubled him for an instant.

As Eddie Worsley, his successor as second-in-command, was to say many years later: 'You know, Anthony, the riflemen would do anything for Foljambe. They knew he would never let them down.'

Eden also explains how Foljambe won his DSO on the night following the action at Gird Ridge on 7th October 1916, which was generally (I understand) regarded as a costly mistake.

'It was not until afterwards that I learned, not from Foljambe, how exacting his task had been.

With darkness falling and after a hard day's fighting with heavy losses, Foljambe had to impose his will on a force of mixed units where surviving officers and NCOs sometimes did not know him, order them to take up new positions and dig themselves in against the counter-attack which could be expected at dawn.

In this he had little help and richly deserved the DSO which was later awarded to him.'

Eden was 'desolate' when Foljambe was ordered back to England as an instructor in January 1917.

'For myself I was miserable at parting with the man I so much admired and who had taught me all I knew. Foljambe's cool, firm efficiency, his intelligent dedication to the job in hand and his refusal to be put off by pretexts, however plausible, set me standards at an impressionable age, so that at least I knew what I ought to have done even when I failed.'

I hope this thread has also given Gerald Foljambe's memory a boost.

Liz

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Liz in Eastbourne

George Alwyn Potter I have written about George in several of my books on Coventrys Ww2 history and have a rather good photo of him. This year a dedication will take place at his old school for a new memorial which he is named on, please PM if you would like to attend or know more.

Thanks for posting this - but your PM box is full. I hope this means you've had a flood of queries!

PS to my Foljambe posts: I believe the name is pronounce FOOL-jum, and not in the more elegant French way I was imagining at first, but would appreciate confirmation from those who know more of the family.

Liz

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Liz in Eastbourne

Temporary 2nd Lieutenant Henry T. Turner, known as 'Tocky'

Wounded at Flers, Sept. 15th 1916; later Hon. Lieutenant

598ec8f7cee74_TockieTurner.jpg.5cc7d2ca12a551b0d169a976fbedcd19.jpg

Standing near the centre of the back row on the group photograph, left of Potter (i.e.on Potter's right).

'Tocky' Turner is mentioned by GV Dennis, who was a signaller himself, because he was the signals officer, as his name suggests (Mark pointed out on p.3 that Toc=T in signalese). However the Gazette entries as well as the War Record show that he was H[enry]T, not TE as Dennis, remembering him by his nickname, thought.

'The signal section was about thirty strong, under 2nd Lt. TE Turner, whom we all liked. From one point of view he was as much an officer as were soldiers. He was more like a gentleman in an officer's uniform, just as we were civilians in green-khaki. When our Sergeant reported, "All present and correct, sir," he showed that he felt ill at ease. The moment when he returned the Sergeant's salute seemed to be a hard one for him and he looked happier when it was over.' (Dennis,
A Kitchener Man's Bit,
p 27)

When they had their signallers' photograph taken at Aldershot by the local photographer F.Scovell, who was taking each Company and specialist section (and this officers' group), Tocky was in the front row with the NCOs (p 30). I wonder if that photograph is still around somewhere? Neither it nor any other Yeoman Rifles group photograph is included in A Kitchener Man's Bit.

At Flers, as has been mentioned on p 3 of this thread, Turner was badly injured late in the day and Dennis writes: 'Immediately afterwards Tockie (sic) Turner, the Signals Officer, was hit in the stomach and lay writhing in agony.'(p 83).

My research on him is incomplete and needs a look at his NA records. Here are the Gazette records of his transfer from the Northumberland Fusiliers (like Denis Yeaman) and appointment to the Yeoman Rifles.

London Gazette 29402 14 Dec 1915

The King's Royal Rifle Corps.

The undermentioned temporary Second

Lieutenants to be temporary Second Lieutenants : —

Henry T. Turner, from The Northumberland Fusiliers. Dated 15th November,

1915.

(along with Sheardown and others from different regiments).

LG 29426 31 Dec 1915 (Supp 4 Jan 1916)

The King's Royal Rifle Corps.

The appointments and transfers of the

undermentioned temporary Second Lieutenants, notified in previous Gazettes, are

antedated to the 29th September, 1915, but

not to carry pay or allowances prior to the

dates specified against their names: —

…[a large group of 21/KRRC 2/Lts including]

Henry T. Turner. 15th November, 1915.…

Richard Preston Graham to be temporary

Second Lieutenant. Dated 29th September, 1915, with precedence next below H. T.

Turner. (Substituted for the notification

which appeared in the Gazette of 14th October, 1915.)

Then in 1917 after promotion to Lieutenant and attachment to another KRRC battalion he relinquished his commission on account of ill-health caused by wounds, presumably his injury at Flers. Any additions will be welcome, as always.

LG 30141 19 June 1917 (Supp 20 June)

K.R. Rif. C.

Temp. Lt. H. T. Turner, from a Serv.

Bn., to be temp. Lt. (attd.). 11 Mar. 1917,

with seniority 5 May I916.

LG 30213 of 31 July 1917 (Supp 1 Aug)

K.R. Rif. C.

Temp. Lt. (attd.) H. T. Turner relinquishes his commission on account of illhealth caused by wounds, and is granted the

hon. rank of Lt. 2 Aug. 1917.

I would also be glad of any help in finding out who Henry T Turner was, before and after the war.

The most likely man I found in the Ancestry records is Henry T Turner, born in 1886 in Japan, living in Oxton, Cheshire in 1891 with his parents John HT Turner, civil engineer, wife Roberta E, a younger brother Francis C T and sister Roberta MT Turner, visitor and three servants. But I couldn't find him in 1901 or 1911 – of course, his birthplace suggests that his father may have taken his family with him to overseas posts, and he himself may have worked overseas.

If he, too, was some kind of engineer, it would not be surprising that he became signals officer.

Liz

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Temporary Second Lieutenant John Marriott Cole

598ec930dfb8d_JMCole.jpg.0f63112fc2335c0d4b91128ac1ba627a.jpg

There were two young 2/Lieutenants called Cole, both in D Company according to G.V. Dennis. Dennis worked with D Company a lot as a signaller and was transferred from C Company after Flers; John M. Cole was then his platoon (No.13) officer. Known as 'Darkie' Cole because his hair was dark, and to differentiate him from Montague 'Ginger' Cole, he is described by Dennis as 'short and stocky', and is standing on the far right of the back row in the group photo.

John Marriott Cole was born in April 1891 in Kensington; his father, Arthur, is described on the census records as a butler in 1901 and a House Steward in 1911, his mother Mary Jane as a housewife. He had one brother, Walter Arthur, who was a year older. John was a law clerk in 1911, while Walter was a stockbroker's clerk.

John was commissioned into the KRRC in September 1915 – I couldn't see a record on Ancestry to show that he had enlisted earlier and been commissioned from the ranks, and the Gazette entry doesn't appear to indicate that, but if anyone can find evidence, it would not be surprising. His elder brother Walter enlisted in the Honourable Artillery Company in November 1915, after failing the medical for the Royal Horse Guards.

LG 29305 of 21 September, 1915 (Supp 22 Sept) p 9400

The King's Royal Rifle Corps.

John Marriott Cole to be temporary

Second Lieutenant. Dated 14th September,

1915

He was then appointed to the Yeoman Rifles along with a large group of other young men from 'a reserve battalion' (were they all in the 15th Bn?) who are also on the group photo: Jones, Willans, Howard, [Montague] Cole, Anderson, Law, Hervey, McIntosh, Livingstone and Baxter.

L G 29474 of 11 February, 1916. (Supp 14 Feb) p 1669

The King's Royal Rifle Corps.

The undermentioned temporary Second

Lieutenants, from a Reserve Battalion, to

be temporary Second Lieutenants. Dated

2nd February, 1916, but with seniority

from the dates specified against their

names: —

[large group of 21st Battalion 2/Lts]

John M. Cole. 14th September, 1915.

Darkie Cole was obviously popular and receives a number of mentions in Dennis's A Kitchener Man's Bit as a keen young officer, a compassionate man and chatty with his men. He kept the men occupied by giving them helpful instruction sessions, and was altogether a sort of kindly big brother to his platoon. On hearing that Dennis (a teetotaller) had neuralgia and would not take a shot of rum to cheer him up when they were all sodden in 'bivvies' in a field near Albert, a few days after Flers,

'Along he came with a mug almost full of rum in his hand and proffered it to me, saying, "Orders is orders, this time, so drink this."

Dennis did not like to refuse though he didn't like the taste, slept well and felt better next morning.(pp 90-91)

He also features as one of the officers who had the wrong idea about what the new tanks were going to be, just before the action at Flers:

'Suddenly one day, most of our officers disappeared. They had been given a map reference and told to meet at a certain loop to view some strange objects of war, with which they had to become familiar. Not one of the officers had the slightest idea what he was going to see, except that whispered rumours connected the mysterious objects with water tanks. Darkie Cole thought he was going to see a new form of apparatus to deal with impure water, changing the latter into drinkable water without using the usual chlorine.' (pp76-7)

I do wonder if Cole really thought that or if the officers were still keeping up the secrecy in talking to the men, as it was just before they were to be used at Flers: but Eden says something similar, though not that all the officers went to see them. He says that all ranks saw the tanks two days later, the day before the attack.

When the remnants of the battalion gathered after Flers,

'only one junior officer, Darkie Cole, was there of all the commissioned that went over, the only survivor. He had been more or less blown up twice and had suffered severe pains in his back from a blow from a lump of shell.' (p 86)

Eden says there were two officers left of those who went over at Flers, which is probably right, as he had the wider view.

Darkie Cole was therefore supposed to be kept back from the next action at Gird Ridge

'because he had been in the first stunt and been the only one to come through. He deserved a rest. Before we others left to go up the line, he came round and asked if anyone had a letter he wished to send off – a farewell letter?…When someone asked him about his letters of sympathy, Darkie Cole said "It is all worth doing when some mother writes to me and says she was so pleased to get my letter because it seems so hard to receive only the cold printed notification from the War Office."' (pp 93-4)

However, Cole was summoned to the line at the last minute on Oct 7th and features in Dennis's account of that and subsequent days. After Gird Ridge Dennis says

'Our Company had only three officers, Captain Sheardown, who had been awarded the MC for the strong point work on October 7th, Darkie Cole and Lt Beechman.' (p 109).

The last reference Dennis makes to Cole comes in February 1917 when Darkie, ever-solicitous for his men's welfare, 'insisted that I joined the sick parade in the morning' because of a fever.

I have not found his remaining military career and if any of the more adept LG-researchers can do so, that would be very helpful.

He did survive the war, and received an MBE in 1956 for his work as Principal Clerk of the Supreme Court Taxing Office. (LG 40787 of 25 May 1956, p. 3115) This doesn't seem like a warm-hearted enough job for Darkie Cole, but I fear it is too late for such thoughts.

He may have been the JM Cole of Golders Green whose wife Ruth gave birth to a son on 20 May 1926 (Times 22 May 1926).

His death was registered in Hendon, Middlesex in the quarter April-June, 1969.

John's only brother, Lance Corporal Walter Arthur Cole of the Honourable Artillery Company, was killed in action on 23 April 1917. (CWGC, SDGW)

Edited by Liz in Eastbourne
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Liz,

This thread continues to be a credit to you and a worthy tribute to 21 KRRC. It really should be archieved somewhere so it is never lost.

Kind regards

TT

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Liz in Eastbourne

Thank you, TT - your appreciation is very encouraging. I don't know quite how the whole thing has grown so much, except that I still have no photograph of Rifleman John Thomas Hardcastle, and I reckon the more information there is here about the Yeoman Rifles, the more likely it is that one will be found!

Researching a battalion is very educational about a lot of Great War matters: I think really the thread subtitle should be 'The education of a novice in researching a battalion and new technology (including posting photographs)'.

Anyway, although the details I have collected for the two Coles need more work, I am now going to add what I know about the second one, as others may be able to add to them. Also I am trying to put something up, however incomplete, about the remaining officers before moving on to other things, especially Jim's photo of a B Company platoon.

Temporary Second Lieutenant Montague Cole, later Captain

Wounded at Gird Ridge, 7 October 1916

598ec977b7a8a_LtMCole.jpg.f51ebd1c716356aa5e86e04107817918.jpg

Montague or Monty 'Ginger' Cole, also in D Company, was tall and slim, according to Dennis, and is standing fourth from left in the middle row on the group photo. Dennis says 'The two Coles were not related but they both came from London.'

It seems then that he must be the Montague Cole born in Islington in 1895 to a Carman, Henry L Cole, and his wife Harriet. The elder son, Henry J, was a waiter in 1911, but Montague was an apprentice. A carman in Victorian and Edwardian London was a deliveryman with wagons and horses; he might have been a jobmaster too and hired out his wagons to other businesses, but it's not possible to judge the scale of the business here. Montague was eight years younger than Henry, and may have had more chances as his father's business prospered.

If my identification of the two Coles is correct they are interesting, socially, given the image of the Yeoman Rifles, even though the old pattern of British army officer was changing by late 1915 – many of the riflemen were from 'higher' social backgrounds than these two young London officers. Some of the northern farmers (John Hardcastle, for one) came from families that leased and/or owned a good deal of land. Of course many of them were later commissioned too if they were willing to take on that responsibility. I guess these two young men had clear leadership qualities.

John (Darkie) certainly had: I cannot find out as much about Montague (Ginger), though I have found more in the London Gazette. He is initially in the same group as John: perhaps they were together in the 15th Bn.

London Gazette 29474 of 11 February
1916
Supp.
14 February 1916 p
1669
The King's Royal Rifle Corps.
The undermentioned temporary Second Lieutenants, from a Reserve Battalion, to
be temporary Second Lieutenants. Dated 2nd February, 1916, but with seniority
from the dates specified against their names: —
[
a large group of 21st Battalion 2/Lts]
Montague Cole, 11th August, 1915.

Denis says that when it went into action at Gird Ridge

'D Company, which twenty-four days ago had consisted of at least nine officers and over two hundred other ranks, now had three officers (the CO, Captain Sheardown, Monty 'Ginger' Cole and Lt Beechman), and sixty-one other ranks.'
(These figures did not include those left behind with the details at the camp.)'

As we know the other Cole was also included at the last minute.

Ginger Cole was badly wounded in the attack. What happened to him after that is not clear until February 1918. Can this entry possibly be Monty?

LG 30181 13 July 1917

Royal Lancaster Regt.—

….

2nd Lt. M. Cole is seconded for duty. 17th June

1917.

This entry clearly is the right man, but I have missed his promotion to Lieutenant.

LG 30543 22/26 Feb 1918
Middlesex Volunteer Regt.
5th Bn. — Lt. Montague Cole (late
K.R.R.C.) to be temp. Lt. 19th Jan. 1918
LG 30508 1 Feb/4 Feb 1918
K.R. Rif. C.
Temp. Lt. M. Cole relinquishes his commission on account of ill-health caused by wounds, and is granted the hon. rank of Lt.
18 Jan. 1918. (Substituted for Gaz. notification 17 Jan. 1918 incorrectly describing rank as 2nd Lt.)
LG 30589 of 19/22 March 1918
Hon. Lt. M. Cole, late K.R. Rif. C., to be
Adjt., Midd'x Vol. R., and to be temp.
Capt. whilst so empld. 14th Feb. 1918

This also seems to be Monty:

LG 31882 27/29 April 1920
GENERAL LIST.
Temp. Capt. M. Cole relinquishes his
commn. on ceasing to be empld., 16th Jan.
1920, and retains the rank of Capt.

But his Silver War Badge was issued on 26.3.20 – I didn't realise they would be issued so late - and his rank there is given as Lieutenant. His address then was in Muswell Hill. I have not found what his subsequent career was.

Liz

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Liz

So many of the O/Rs in the RWKents were 'carmen' that I think it might have a wider definition than you have. I can't imagine they all owned horses and wagons. My guess is that for London it also covers carters and maybe even costermongers (ie, they worked with hand carts). Not that this means Cole's father did not own horses, of course. Cole doesn't look like the son of a costermonger!

Keep up the great work.

Mike

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Liz in Eastbourne

Hello Mike,

Hope you had a good holiday!

Yes - I did know 'carman' can cover a wide range of carter-type occupations (interesting to hear of your RW Kents) and you are right to point it out because I have been guilty of quoting the top end of the range in order to fit my thesis. The fact that Cole's father gave his own occupation just as 'Carman' in 1911 and didn't expand it with 'Jobmaster' or anything grander might be regarded as evidence against that idea.

We ought to keep an open mind: this might not be him. Or he had an even greater social leap from his original background than I thought. The fact that John Marriott Cole was definitely the son of a butler is comparable. Potter, son of a gas-fitter, was a bit different because he was a soldier prewar and was commissioned from the ranks.

i looked at a couple of Montague Coles outside London on the basis that Dennis might have been mistaken, or they came to London later, but they were even less likely - e.g. one in Hampshire aged 14 in 1901, a garden boy. At least this Montague was an apprentice, which again covers a multitude of possibilities but looks hopeful, and the family was small so they could have lavished more of their resources on his education and training.

He's another one whose record needs a look!

Liz

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Liz in Eastbourne

One more to set before you for consideration for the weekend.

Temporary Captain Charles Arthur ('Joe') Pitt

Wounded at Flers

Captain Pitt is not on the group photograph for some reason; he was with the Battalion from its early days, certainly at Aldershot, probably before that at Helmsley. He was in command of C Company, which was where both Anthony Eden (Temp. 2nd Lieut.) and Gerald Dennis (Rifleman and Signaller) found themselves (though Dennis moved to D after Flers), so both mention him several times in their books (quoted on page 3 of this thread). Because he is not on the photograph or the War Record, there is no easily available source for his names or initials. .

Eden always calls him 'Joe' in Another World and the closeness of their working relationship makes an error unlikely, but searches on Joseph Pitt proved fruitless. Dennis does not give a first name or initial.

There is however a Charles Arthur Pitt: once this Captain Pitt had been discovered, the links between documents appeared to me to confirm that he was the right man, and culminated in the surprising discovery that I had seen his 1911 census return before – he was a fellow lodger in the parish of Greenwich with two men one of whom was LFOS Honey, later also to be a Captain in the Yeoman Rifles.

Charles Arthur Pitt was born in Malmesbury, Wiltshire in late 1874, the eldest son of a GP, Charles Wightwick Pitt, and his wife Edith. He attended the Royal Medical Benevolent College, Epsom (1891 Census). In 1911, at the age of 36, he was single, working at the Stock Exchange in London and living in the boarding house already mentioned in the post about Honey on page 6 of this thread, at 34 St John's Park Blackheath.

Lancelot FOS Honey was only 22 and a colonial civil servant, so not an obvious friend for Pitt. It seems a remarkable coincidence that they ended up together in the 21/KRRC four years later: I don't know if there was any way they could have engineered this.

Charles Arthur Pitt, occupation Authorised Clerk, Stock Exchange, born in Malmesbury, attested for the Wiltshire Regiment on September 1st 1914 in Westminster, but was discharged on 3rd November 'for the purpose of being appointed to a commission' according to his medical history form. He was 5'9" tall, with blue eyes, brown hair and a fresh complexion. His declared age was 34, but he was 39. Would he have had to maintain that lie for the whole of his military career?

Dennis comments on his age: 'He was a gentleman alright, very kind but many years older than most of us' (p 21) and also thinks of him as a Regular Army officer, which was not the case.

His appointment as Temporary 2nd Lieutenant in the infantry was announced in the London Gazette of Nov 6th 1914 and cancelled on Nov 10th . A year later, on Dec 3rd 1915, the LG, reported in The Times, announced his appointment as Temporary Lieutenant in the 10th Leicester Regiment, a service battalion which had become a reserve battalion during 1915 (Long, Long Trail).

His appointment to the KRRC is announced together with that of two other officers from the Leicestershire Regiment, Robert Claud Burton and Robert C. Robinson, both of whom also went to the 21st Battalion.

LG 29389 of 30 Nov 1915

The King's Royal Rifle Corps.

Temporary Lieutenant Charles A. Pitt,

from The Leicestershire Regiment, to be

temporary Captain. Dated 19th November,1915.

Temporary Second Lieutenant Robert C.

Burton, from The Leicestershire Regiment,

to be temporary Lieutenant. Dated 19th November, 1915.

Temporary Second Lieutenant Robert C.

Robinson, from The Leicestershire Regiment, to be temporary Second Lieutenant.

Dated 19th November, 1915

Pitt was wounded at Flers. This was mentioned in the War Diary for 15th September 1916 and also for 18th September:

'Lt Meysey-Thompson took over the command of C Coy vice Capt Pitt wounded.'

Yet he doesn't appear on the casualty list in the Battalion's 1916 War Record. Neither Eden nor Dennis comments on what happened to him thereafter.

LG 30333 12 Oct 1917

Bedf. B.

Temp. Capt. C. A. Pitt, from K.R. Rif.C., to be temp. Capt. 16 July 1917, with

seniority 19th Nov. 1915

LG 32097 22 Oct 1920

Bedf. & Herts. R.

2nd Garr. Bn.—

Temp. Capt. C. A. Pitt relinquishes his

commission on completion of service, 26 Oct.

1920, and retains the rank of Capt.

Captain Pitt's MIC confirms that he was in all three regiments, and the two addresses on the card are Gloucester House, Malmesbury and St John's Park, Blackheath, though this time at No 76. So this is all one and the same man, and I do not think there is any real doubt that this is also the same man as Captain Pitt of C Company, who is Captain 'Joe' Pitt in Eden's book.

He may be the Charles A Pitt who died in Winchester in the first quarter of 1949.

Liz

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