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The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

Embroidery by wounded / Ill Soldiers


DB1

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I have two examples of embroidery done by my Granddad as attached. The mystery is when they may have been done, he was TF and his records do not show / prove that he served overseas in a theatre of war until 1918. He joined a TF Battalion Nott’s and Derby before being transferred to the 2/6th Durham Light Infantry where he would then have fought on the front line.

Family history (usually and until now reliable) and Bn movements provided a few years ago by a Regimental historian lead me to believe that my Granddad had served overseas at a much earlier date and was possibly wounded twice. His incomplete (and forever will be) service records do not show any record of wounds. They only show on discharge in 1919 an aggravated "chest problem". Answers provided elsewhere on this forum are proving home service until his transfer to the DLI in August 1917 (front in 1918).

However my Granddad was in hospital at some point in his service and the embroidery has remained in the family with a history of being wounded / recovering when he did them.

To add to the mystery they are both naval scenes, one is pretty much non specific. The other which has always fascinated me is entitled "In memory of Boy Cornwall". In the centre of the embroidery is a picture of my Granddad, again there is a family history of there possibly being a photo of someone else in the centre that was at some point lost and replaced with his picture, he did survive the war. It was only about six months ago that I did an internet search re "Boy Cornwall" and found that this relates to John Travers Cornwall VC known as Jack Cornwall or Boy Cornwall KIA 2nd June 1916. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jack_Cornwell I Therefore believed that my Granddad had been wounded after 1916. It may be that he was ill or injured during his home service. He is a mystery as I know many others are. I wonder if there are any experts in military embroidery that will take a look at these examples or someone who has similar in their family that can provide some insight. I have read that embroidery was used during time in hospital for therapeutic / rehab.

He was said to be rehabilitating in Tollesbury Essex when he met his future wife (my Grandmother) who lived until 1964 and was the source of the information. We believe they met in 1915 although there are no records of military hospitals in Tollesbury Essex. The nearest recorded is I believe Colchester. Lots of mystery, Thank you for looking, any input greatly appreciated.

Regards

Dave

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  • 1 month later...

Hello Dave .. if you are still interested, I can give you some details now and more after next weekend. There was a WW1 Red Cross Auxiliary Hospital at Tolleshunt D'arcy, Essex - at a large privately owned house called 'Guisnes Court'. Off the top of my head, from memory, I think the family who owned the Guisnes Estate and offered their home for this purpose was Binney. My maternal grandmother's family come from Tolleshunt D'arcy. Tollesbury is very close indeed, just down the road from D'Arcy so the Tollesbury rehabilitation tale is likely to be true and I'd say your Grandad was very possibly a patient at Guisnes. Obviously, he may have been transferred to Guisnes from another establishment e.g. several in Colchester and then there was also one at nearby Maldon.

I've recently started a thread querying this type of rehabilitation and Forum Member Centurion (amongst other kind souls) answered: "Men would be discharged from hospitals into convalescent centres and the hospitals took special care they they were clear of any contagious bugs before doing so. Men could also go to relatives or friends if the medical authorities thought it safe."

So, knowing what I have thus been told as per the above-mentioned thread, your story is very interesting for me. I am researching all the establishments I can find within a 20 mile radius of Colchester - I am interested in the people I can find associated with them .... as a possible patient for Guisnes, would you like to share anything about your Grandad with me please? It would be included in a file on display at a local history group's WW1 Commemoration Exhibition later in the year - I would duly credit you :-)

Like I said, I can give you more specific facts/information in a week's time - when I'll have my files to hand. Best Regards Heather

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Hello Dave,

Very nice to have your grandfathers embroidery, I read your post with interest, especially with your reference to Boy Cornwall VC, as I claim no special knowledge of English geography it is interesting to note that Cornwall VC was from Essex, was this near your grandfather's hospital or home ?. I was curious as to whether it was possible that he knew Cornwall VC or the Cornwall family. It is unusual that he chose a naval theme for his work, it is obvious that it had meaning for him.

khaki

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Hi .... i Googled Boy Cornwall - John "Jack" Cornwell (Boy VC) .... he was born 1900 in Leyton, Essex/London. So not geographically close. Saw action in the Battle of Jutland (others will be experts, I'm not) and died from his wounds 02 June 1916 ..... perhaps Dave's grandfather was rehabilitating when this death occurred and that struck a cord when he came to choosing a theme for his occupational therapy i.e. the embroidery? Or does Dave's grandfather have a connection to Leyton? Heather

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Morning all. Thomas Godfrey Binney was the owner of Guisnes Court from 1906 until 1923. The place has a fascinating story that starts in the 13th century, nearly ended with a fire in 1984 but, thankfully continues to this day.

Best regards.

SPN
Maldon

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Hi

Thanks all for the replies:

Heather I can give you some information that is backed up by hard evidence that places My Grandparents in the Tollesbury area, so it is possible that my Granddad was in the Tolleshunt D'arcy hospital. All evidence for a hospital stay is only by word of mouth though. I am happy to give you the info then you can decide if it is appropriate to include in the file for the local history group. PM to follow when I can put it all together for you.

Khaki

Interesting point you make, My Grandmother was from Tollesbury Essex which is over an hour away by (today's means) from Leyton. We do though have evidence that places her within 45 minutes travelling of Leyton in 1915 as she was a servant living in Cricklewood and later was resident in Woodford and was married in Woodford in 1918. Woodford and Leyton are only 4.5 miles apart. My Granddad was posted to various places within Essex so some connection is possible, and although unlikely to be proven is very interesting.

Maldon

Thank you for the confirmation of the owner of Guisnes court and additional info

Regards

Dave

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