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Remembered Today:

Pte 10046 Jack Palfrey - Killed by horse


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Guest apalfreybiz

Hi all,

My first post, but I'm hoping someone can shed some light on a few questions I have.

My great grandfather, Pte J C Palfrey of 1st East Surrey's, was seriously injured (I believe in France) while escorting a horse back to the stables. The horse rolled over him and caused a fatal spinal abscess that claimed his life a few months later.

My question is, as far as I am aware, Privates of the 1st East Surrey's did not use horses. Why would my great grandfather be escorting horses? I know he had some experience with them prior to his enlistment in 1910. Would this have been a special duty assigned to him based on his skills/experience?

He was transfered from where this took place to the Brook War Hospital where he was discharged and died soon after. Does anyone know where I could find records for this hospital? Also, what would have been the process for being transfered here from the place of injury? How would he have been transported back?

Any answers would be of great help.

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I cannot answer any of your questions, however, I do note the dreadful irony that a "palfrey" was in the Middle Ages a type of riding horse. It may be that your gt. grandfather's ancestors were associated with these.

Regards,

JMB

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1st East Surreys, like any infantry battalion, would have made extensive use of horses for various duties.

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I believe that in infantry battalions the senior officers [each Major for each company, at least], had horses and a Battalion had a total establishment of 55 riding and draught horses /cobs

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The original root for 'batman' came from 'beast man', or the man who looked after an officer's horse.

In other words infantry officers were authorised to have a horse and a soldier to look after it , this earlier thread on 'officers servants'/ grooms gives some examples esp post 11 http://1914-1918.invisionzone.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=12919

We have a photograph of my wives grandfather a private in the Queen's on horseback.

So by no means unusual and it would be men with some experience (my wife's grandfather was a delivery man) who would have been selected for the task, and as you say Palfrey's civilian occupation was 'carriage groom'.

I assume you obtained the information above from his pension record. He went overseas with the main body of the 1st Bn on 14 August 1914. The incident with the horse occurred in Arras. There is general information on the casualty evacuation chain on this site

http://www.ramc-ww1.com/chain_of_evacuation.php

His record shows he was initially treated 'in France' which given the nature of his injury was I suggest, at the base hospital although details are not shown. He would then be put on a hospital ship and evacuated to the UK and in all probability train to London and the Brook Hospital. As the hospital closed in 1995 I don't know if any records have survived.

The war diary shows that on the 4th May, the day before the accident, '4 Company was in Battalion Reserve at Rue St Michael near Arras Station'.

Ken

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Google Hospital Archives Database and you should find a site on the Wellcome Library site where they can advise you about the Brook Hospital records; although previous experience from other hospitals leads me to expect that Great War records may well have been cleared out in the 1920s.

sJ

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Guest apalfreybiz

Thank you all (especially Ken). Don't suppose there would be any way to trace which hospital ship he was put on?

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Thank you all (especially Ken). Don't suppose there would be any way to trace which hospital ship he was put on?

Quite probably not on a hospital ship. Likely to have been transferred to Britain via some combination of ambulance, ferry and hospital train

As well as officers horses Battalion HQs sometimes had a few mounted despatch riders

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I believe that in infantry battalions the senior officers [each Major for each company, at least], had horses and a Battalion had a total establishment of 55 riding and draught horses /cobs

1914 Infantry Battalion Field Service Pocket Book has ...

post-20192-0-76565400-1405418012_thumb.j

Most of the horses/cobs belonged to battalion HQ servicing the needs of the whole battalion, but at specifically at company level were 1 riding horse for Coy commander, 2 heavy draught horses for the field kitchen and 2 pack cobs for ammunition.

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