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CPO William Milton Hood Bttn. R.N.D.


Guest Andrewdouglas

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Guest Andrewdouglas

The various accounts of Rupert Brookes funeral indicate that the pall bearers were drawn from PO,s of his Battalion i.e. The Hood. I have not found any source to suggest who were chosen but if anybody can help or even give a pointer ....

I am hoping that CPO William Milton ' C ' Company was one of these men. Milton went on to be commisioned and decorated in France .

Hopelessly optimistic

Many Thanks

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This probably doesnt help but according to Sellers a man called Saunders led the funeral party, followed by Lt Shaw-Stewart, then the coffin with General Paris and officers following. Brooke's mother received a letter of condolence signed by the following NCO's:

PO CW Sanders (Saunders?)

PO JR Wells

LS T Powell

LS FW Reyner

... part of the burial party?

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“Brooke’s brother officers went on ahead with some men from his platoon to prepare the grave in the olive grove; while the bearer party, eight petty officers from Hood Battalion, struggled up the steeply sloping, rock-strewn, dry river bed. Men holding lanterns aloft were posted every twenty yards along the route. The journey of almost a mile took two hours. Up above at the burial place Browne and his fellow officers could see the little lamplit procession toiling up the slope. One of Brooke’s men led, carrying a big white cross; then came the firing party commanded by Patrick Shaw-Stewart; finally the coffin, followed by General Paris and a stream of officers and men.”

From ‘The Cross of Skyros’ by Peter J. Miller – part of ‘Rupert Brooke’s Death and Burial’ published by the IWM 1992

Sorry, but no info re who the 8 PO bearers were

[the French account, also included in translation in the above book, refers to ‘Twelve Australian giants, splendid-looking men in service uniforms…” however this is almost certainly incorrect]

There were seven of Brooke’s fellow officers in his burial party; Freyberg, Asquith, Browne, Kelly, Shaw-Stewart, Lister and Quilter

Regards

Michael D.R.

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Guest Andrewdouglas

Hello Michael and Signals

Thank you for your replies.It is certainly going to be very difficult to prove my man was present .However I can settle on the fact he may have been there at one of the war's most poignant -even romantic- moments.

I always had the impression the burial was a small scale affair and the logistics of bringing 'stream of officers and men' from the transports would have been most difficult given the constraints of time.

I must seek uout the IWM account.

Will keep you posted if there is progress

Andrew

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Andrew,

The book which I quoted from earlier was part of the IWM’s ‘Arts and Literature Series – No.5’ and was produced by them in a limited edition of 300 copies. I consider myself fortunate in having obtained copy No.216 in late 1994. I cannot say whether the IWM have produced any further editions since then however it may be possible to pick one up second hand.

The introduction was written by Martin Taylor of the IWM’s Dept of Printed Books and his notes state that

“The pall-bearers were not the twelve Australians but, according to Patrick Shaw-Stewart (see Ronald Knox, ‘Patrick Shaw-Stewart’ (London: Collins, 1920) p.126), the eight petty officers of ‘A’ Company, Hood Battalion.”

And he continues “Minor discrepancies appear in all the available accounts of Brooke’s burial.”

Len Sellers writing in his book ‘The Hood Battalion’ says

“The leading man, called Saunders, was holding a large white-painted cross with the words ‘Rupert Brooke’ across the centre. He was followed by Lieutenant Shaw-Stewart with a drawn sword, leading the firing party. Then came the coffin,…”

This is only a speculation on my part, but, as a senior NCO of the Hood Battalion, CPO Milton was almost certainly there, however if he had had an active part, then since he had seniority over PO Saunders, surely he would then have been the one to carry the cross and lead the procession?

Just how big was the event and how many RND men were able to attend?

My grandfather was not in the ‘Hood’ but in the ‘Nelson,’ however he always led us to believe that he had attended Rupert Brooke’s funeral. [As far as I know we only have two of my grandfather’s books; an 1848 edition of The Book of Common Prayer and ‘Poems of Rupert Brooke.’] In November 1914 Brooke was a member of the ‘Nelson,’ but only for a few days as he gravitated towards his friends and from the ‘Anson’ to the ‘Hood.’

Another man who referred to the funeral was AB J. T. Caldwell whose diary was reproduced in Len Sellers’ magazine ‘RND’ No.23, Dec 2002 (see p.2339)

“At Skyros we were put through more training, it was a long hard day’s work. During the day an officer died…….he belonged to the Hood Battalion; we buried him at midnight April 23rd. It’s a day I won’t forget in a hurry.”

Caldwell was not in the ‘Hood’ either, but in the ‘Howe’ Battalion.

Regards

Michael D.R.

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Guest Andrewdouglas

Michael

Thanks for your latest reply.Fascinating reading and interesting to know your grandfather was present with Nelson and indeed mention of another from Howe.It surely must have been a bigger occasion than the impression given in the various accounts.

I have a few groups to Nelson members who servrd in Gallipoli and one including a nice photo of my man and 2 colleagues on a reunion presumably on the Gallipoli peninsula.

Once I have my scanner and printer up and running I will foward a copy.

Best Wishes

Andrew

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