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Remembered Today:

Funeral at Bedford


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Since the re organisation of the forum into sections, sub sections and sub sub sections I am convinced many items are missed because people cannot be bothered to search through all the different areas.

I posted this months ago in the correct section but no one showed any interest.

This could of course be just because it is not interesting, but I will give it a try here anyway

Here are two pictures of a funeral in Bedford I think. The Photographer is Wade Geary.

I suspect this is the Bute Artillary.

Note the reversed rifles, Union Flag draped coffin, civilian undertaker.

Would love to know who the poor soldier was who died in late 1914 or early 1915.

http://i86.photobucket.com/albums/k116/rasterscanning/Scan1.jpg

http://i86.photobucket.com/albums/k116/rasterscanning/Scan.jpg

Anyone got anything to add?

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Hello Raster

Bedford was the "war station" in 1914 of the Highland Division TF, which included the 4th (Mountain) Brigade RGA (Argyll, Ross & Cromarty, and Bute Batteries).

While at Bedford the division suffered from an epidemic of measles, which proved fatal in many cases. The people of Bedford were shocked by these, as they were accustomed to children getting measles and recovering quickly, but it is not endemic in the north of Scotland so men of the division had not caught it as children, and it is much more dangerous whencaught in later life.

It would be difficult to pin the man's unit down definitely to the Bute Battery, but that is a possibility.

Ron

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Hi John

Did you post this in your old (and excellent - I always thought a good candidate for a classic thread) Bedford thread? If so I missed it.

I seem to remember Bedford press covering the death of a Loyal North Lancs soldier at some point (I think there are photos of the procession down by the railway station)

Looking at the list of burials in Bedford cemetery HERE

If you think Highland Brigade Artillery then

Archibald Clark 1207 4th MB RGA 25th Dec 1914

John Livingstone 1164 Gunner 4th Highland MB RGA 25th December 1914

Seem possibles

Sorry in a rush to work...there may be other good candidates I'll check later

Chris

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Thanks Ron.

Yes that is what I am assuming as well, I am sure there is no chance of a name.

Hi Chris, yes I posted it there but it is now buried so deep it is not really noticeable.

I also found those two unfortunates who both died on Christmas day in 1914. I guess he may not be artillery at all, they could just be providing the limber and drivers.

I am thinking this is De Parys Avenue and they are turning into the Bedford School.

Hoping Piper also sees this, but like me he seems to be an infrequent visitor these days. Any idea of the regiment the kilted men belong to?

Thanks for the input.

John

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Thanks Ron.

Yes that is what I am assuming as well, I am sure there is no chance of a name.

Hi Chris, yes I posted it there but it is now buried so deep it is not really noticeable.

I also found those two unfortunates who both died on Christmas day in 1914. I guess he may not be artillery at all, they could just be providing the limber and drivers.

I am thinking this is De Parys Avenue and they are turning into the Bedford School.

Hoping Piper also sees this, but like me he seems to be an infrequent visitor these days. Any idea of the regiment the kilted men belong to?

Thanks for the input.

John

Sneaking a peak at work.

I think the Kilties are Seaforth Highlanders. The sporran badge and the stripe in the Kilt would suggest that to me.

A quick look would suggest

Crerar, Geddes and Macphee as Seaforths who died in the relevant period (14/15).

Chris

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Sneaking a peak at work.

I think the Kilties are Seaforth Highlanders. The sporran badge and the stripe in the Kilt would suggest that to me.

A quick look would suggest

Crerar, Geddes and Macphee as Seaforths who died in the relevant period (14/15).

Chris

I would agree with Chris, looks to be Seaforths - another clue is the way the diced hose of the Officer in the first picture appear, which is right for how the red and white would be rendered by orthochromatic film. They also appear to be sporting the Imperial Service tablet on the right breast, so Territorials to boot.

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Thanks for your thoughts guys

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Hi Raster.

Just a suggestion being as I used to live in Luton.There was a railway station in Luton right next to the existing one called Bute Street Station, I used to work in the signal box many years ago.Hope this helps.

Regards Andy

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Hi Raster.

Just a suggestion being as I used to live in Luton.There was a railway station in Luton right next to the existing one called Bute Street Station, I used to work in the signal box many years ago.Hope this helps.

Regards Andy

I do not think there is a connection as the name (Bute St) and the station in Luton predates the Highland Division's stay in Bedford by about 50 years, according to a couple of online railway sources.

Chris

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.......... funeral in Bedford I think. .......... Artillary.

Can I just ask - How sure are you of Bedford, and why did you suggest artillery ?

(I do have burial in mind which involved Seaforths and Camerons).

Tom

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Hi Tom.

Not 100% certain as I cannot compare then and now as I am in Australia.

However I was born in Bedford and lived there for many years and it does look a bit like De Parys Av in the town.

The photographer is certainly from Bedford.

As for artillery, again not sure but the non kilt wearing men have artillery cap badges, and the combination of kilts and non kilts suggested to me he might be as in this picture, that is Bedford and is certainly the Bute Artillery

http://i86.photobucket.com/albums/k116/rasterscanning/Bute.jpg

I would be interested to hear your thoughts

Thanks

John

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I think it is DeParys too - which of course leads to the cemetery. I'll drop a note to Richard (Piper) as he is something of a dab hand at identifying Bedford locations.

See: HIS EXCELLENT BLOG HERE

I am not so certain on the artillery connection to the individual being buried as to me it seems more likely they are just providing the carriage/hearse, were it an RA burial I would expect to see a lot more mounted men in the procession. The presence of the scots troops with reversed arms to me suggests it is likely one of their number who is going to his rest.

Chris

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Andy.

Thanks.

Bute street was named after the 3rd Earl of Bute, who built Luton Hoo a local stately home.

I do not think there is a connection.

Cheers

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I think it is DeParys too - which of course leads to the cemetery. I'll drop a note to Richard (Piper) as he is something of a dab hand at identifying Bedford locations.

See: HIS EXCELLENT BLOG HERE

I am not so certain on the artillery connection to the individual being buried as to me it seems more likely they are just providing the carriage/hearse, were it an RA burial I would expect to see a lot more mounted men in the procession. The presence of the scots troops with reversed arms to me suggests it is likely one of their number who is going to his rest.

Chris

The one point that puzzles me is where was the photographer located? he appears to be high up but in the middle of the street. Top deck of an open bus?

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The one point that puzzles me is where was the photographer located? he appears to be high up but in the middle of the street. Top deck of an open bus?

I wondered about that too!

However it is pretty hard to tell I think, given that we do not know the focal length of the lens used (typically in this period it would not be very long) or how cropped the print is (which can change the aspect significantly) The depth of focus is good (indicating probably a shortish focal length and/or a small apeture) and also the (moving) subject is not blurred - indicating a relatively fast shutter. Technically they seem to be very good photos as might be expected from a professional photographer but still - they seem to have been staged with some care, were they published in the Beds Times or anywhere?

I think it is possible that the perspective could be created shooting from an upstairs window of one of the houses and then cropping the print, although the second picture in particular does seem as though it is taken from the top of a bus (or lorry?) that has moved beyond the junction where the parade is turning right.

There are several well known pictures of Highlanders marching out of DeParys and into the High Street (and others outside the Cross Keys) which I am certain were taken from the upstairs of the buildings on the corner so I wonder if this might not be the same just further down the Deparys.

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John - I'm inclined to agree with Chris in post #12 - the artillery are simply providing the transport, which is quite normal, and the funeral is most likely that of an infantryman or infantry officer. I've previously seen a lot of photos of the HD by the likes of Blake & Edgar at Bedford, but have never before seen anything by Wade Geary. Thery are very nice photos - do you have any more by him, of the troops ?

What follows is entirely speculative ! - It looks to be quite an impressive funeral and seems to be attended by men of more than one battalion, which makes me think of a particular internment at Bedford cemetery which took place on the 15th of October 1914, the service being conducted at the graveside by the chaplain of the Seaforth and Cameron Brigade, and accompanied by "full military honours".

This was the funeral of Private 1895 Arthur Charker of the 1/4th QO Cameron Highlanders.

His only brother, Charles Charker, was in attendance, as were his brothers-in-law, a Lance Corporal McNeal of the Seaforth Highlanders, and a Mr. D.G.Fraser. His grave is in plot 57.K.2., and is marked by the normal (post war) headstone of the CWGC, which bears a family inscription; "To Memory Ever Dear". He is listed in “Soldiers Died In The Great War” as having “died, home” on October 12th 1914.

The regimental journal makes no mention of Charker in its regular "deaths" column, however they do list his name in a table printed in the April 1915 issue; "Return of NCO's and men of above unit who have died since mobilisation". Charker's is the first name on the list, and his death is recorded as having occurred at Bedford County Hospital. He is the only man on the list against whose name the "cause of death" column has been left blank – no doubt because he had been murdered (the charge was later reduced to manslaughter).

I cant expand on what the reference to "full military honours" might have meant so there may be no connection at all between Charker and your photos. Pity there isnt more evidence !

Tom

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He is the only man on the list against whose name the "cause of death" column has been left blank – no doubt because he had been murdered (the charge was later reduced to manslaughter).

Tom

Tom is this the case where two friends were involved in a drunken struggle over a bayonet ending in the fatal wounding of one soldier?

I have the newspaper reports of the incident and court case somewhere.

I would have thought that were it to be that particular funeral the troops in attendance would have been QOCH and I am pretty sure these are Seaforths.

Chris

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Chris -

"... is this the case where two friends were involved in a drunken struggle over a bayonet ending in the fatal wounding of one soldier?"

Correct, though exactly what happened was unclear; hence the charge changing to manslaughter. The other soldier, John Fraser, had quite a lot of "form".

"... were it to be that particular funeral the troops in attendance would have been QOCH and I am pretty sure these are Seaforths."

There are Seaforths prominent in the photos but I'm far from certain all of the soldiers are Seaforths. I had wondered about the brother-in-law L.Cpl McNeal and whether the fact that he was a Seaforth accounted for the presence of men from the regiment, or it could be that as Charker served in the Seaforth & Cameron Brigade of the Highland Division the honour party was mixed ? As I said earlier, I was being entirely speculative.

If only somebody had scribbled "Fred Blogg's funeral x/y/1914" on the back of the photos ................ But how many times have we said that !

Tom

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I think you will find that this photo is taken from an upstairs terrace house window in Foster Hill Rd. Bedford. The view is looking down Park Road, with De Parys Road being the road shown to the right, and the Park gates being opposite that. The cortage is turning into Fosters Hill Rd towards the cemetary. Note the policemen blocking off the road and allowing the cortage to turn right into Park Rd from De Parys, as you would expect. The terrace houses were there when I went to school, but are replaced with a roudabout now.

Alan

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  • 1 month later...

John,

I recently started on the Bedfordshire Times & Independant and I have the Private Charker story which looks promising based on the attached desciption when compared to the info below. I have a full copy of the newspaper articles if anyone is interested, including the inquest from memory ... can post on here but drop me an email if you want a larger copy.

Also was the episode (possibly mentioned above, so forgive me if so) about the Scottish soldier who drowned saving two locals, around Sept / Oct 1914. Forget his name at the moment but he would ahve attracted a full funeral I imagine.

post-1637-0-93850700-1300211057.jpg

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Hi Raster.

Just a suggestion being as I used to live in Luton.There was a railway station in Luton right next to the existing one called Bute Street Station, I used to work in the signal box many years ago.Hope this helps.

Regards Andy

Was that the line that used to run to Dunstable?

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John - I'm inclined to agree with Chris in post #12 - the artillery are simply providing the transport, which is quite normal, and the funeral is most likely that of an infantryman or infantry officer. I've previously seen a lot of photos of the HD by the likes of Blake & Edgar at Bedford, but have never before seen anything by Wade Geary. Thery are very nice photos - do you have any more by him, of the troops ?

What follows is entirely speculative ! - It looks to be quite an impressive funeral and seems to be attended by men of more than one battalion, which makes me think of a particular internment at Bedford cemetery which took place on the 15th of October 1914, the service being conducted at the graveside by the chaplain of the Seaforth and Cameron Brigade, and accompanied by "full military honours".

This was the funeral of Private 1895 Arthur Charker of the 1/4th QO Cameron Highlanders.

His only brother, Charles Charker, was in attendance, as were his brothers-in-law, a Lance Corporal McNeal of the Seaforth Highlanders, and a Mr. D.G.Fraser. His grave is in plot 57.K.2., and is marked by the normal (post war) headstone of the CWGC, which bears a family inscription; "To Memory Ever Dear". He is listed in "Soldiers Died In The Great War" as having "died, home" on October 12th 1914.

The regimental journal makes no mention of Charker in its regular "deaths" column, however they do list his name in a table printed in the April 1915 issue; "Return of NCO's and men of above unit who have died since mobilisation". Charker's is the first name on the list, and his death is recorded as having occurred at Bedford County Hospital. He is the only man on the list against whose name the "cause of death" column has been left blank – no doubt because he had been murdered (the charge was later reduced to manslaughter).

I cant expand on what the reference to "full military honours" might have meant so there may be no connection at all between Charker and your photos. Pity there isnt more evidence !

Tom

Thanks for your thoughts Tom, unfortunately I have no more of these, although I do have a large collection taken during WW1 of soldiers at Bedford.

It would be excellent if it could be shown that these were of Charker's funeral.

Cheers

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I think you will find that this photo is taken from an upstairs terrace house window in Foster Hill Rd. Bedford. The view is looking down Park Road, with De Parys Road being the road shown to the right, and the Park gates being opposite that. The cortage is turning into Fosters Hill Rd towards the cemetary. Note the policemen blocking off the road and allowing the cortage to turn right into Park Rd from De Parys, as you would expect. The terrace houses were there when I went to school, but are replaced with a roudabout now.

Alan

This makes perfect sense and I agree with you! They are in Park Ave, turning into the upper part of Foster Hill Road, they are passing what is now the site of Robinson Pool.

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John,

I recently started on the Bedfordshire Times & Independant and I have the Private Charker story which looks promising based on the attached desciption when compared to the info below. I have a full copy of the newspaper articles if anyone is interested, including the inquest from memory ... can post on here but drop me an email if you want a larger copy.

Also was the episode (possibly mentioned above, so forgive me if so) about the Scottish soldier who drowned saving two locals, around Sept / Oct 1914. Forget his name at the moment but he would ahve attracted a full funeral I imagine.

post-1637-0-93850700-1300211057.jpg

Thanks mate.

It does fit in some ways but if the location is as Ghost suggests, then they would have come out of De Parys Ave. It however appears they have come down Park Av and passed the junction of De Parys Av, rather than coming out of it!

Great article.

Cheers

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Just another thought. Been a while since I was living in the UK but if this was October surely there would be some evidence of the remains of leaves on the trees or on the ground? This looks more like January or February?

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