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Remembered Today:

Lance Corporal 1949 FREDERICK ERNEST DEBENHAM 1/20th (Blackheath and W


Hookleg
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Researching Lance Corporal 1949 FREDERICK ERNEST DEBENHAM of 1/20th (Blackheath and Woolwich) battalion, London Regiment died on 25 September 1915, aged 21. Loos.

Commemorated at Dud Corner Cemetery, located near the commune of Loos-en-Gohelle, in the Pas-de-Calais département of France. Panel 130-135.

Parents, Ernest Frederick Debenham and Rhoda Emily Cox. Family memorial at Brockley and Ladywell Cemeteries also known as: Brockley Cemetery, Deptford Cemetery, Ladywell Cemetery, Lewisham Cemetery

I have read the article about the Lewisham war memorial. Frederick was a pupil at St Dunstan's College, Stanstead Road, Catford.

Before the Great War 'G' Company of the 20th (Blackheath and Woolwich) Battalion, the London Regiment was made up entirely of Old Dunstonians. After reorganisation of the battalion ODs made up the whole of numbers 7 and 8 Platoons of ‘B’ Company. They kept their identity until the Battle of Loos in September 1915.

If anyone can help, what I would like to know is what part these platoons played on 25th Sept 1915.

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Hookleg

It will be of interest to look into 'Love and War' by Peter Trafford. The author's ancestor served in 8 Platoon of 1/20th Londons and the book is a compilation of his letters to his fiancée. However; the author did not appear to have been a student at St Dunstons.

I only picked my copy up earlier this week so cannot say if your relative is mentioned anywhere.

It can probably be acquired pretty cheaply on Ebay or Abebooks or got on inter library loan.

Kind regards

Colin

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Thanks for replies and suggestions for further research.

The 20th were to capture important points south of the village — a copse and chalk-pit, a small enclosed " garden city," and a crassier (slag heap) running south-east towards Lens from the Tower Bridge. Luckily the gas attack went favourably and the fact that they had rehearsed the operation behind their own lines meant that they achieved their objectives, all be it that they were frustrated by resistance at Chalk Pit Copse for several days.

I have read the following "The 20th pushed on to the "garden city," which fell into their hands. A Company, under Captain G. Williams, successfully fought their way to the Chalk-pit. Here they captured two field-guns, which were standing a few weeks later in London on the Horse Guards Parade".

Has anyone any info about B Coy? Name of officer etc?

Many thanks.

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Hookleg

Have you read the battalion war diary?

Kind regards

Colin

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Hookleg,

Colin is referring to the battalion war diaries, which were compiled daily and a copy of which is kept at the National Archives. Research guide link.

The reference for the relevant 1/20th London diary is WO 95/2738/2 and it is downloadable for £3.30 here.

You may already have it, but here is a photo of the family grave in Ladywell Cemetery.

post-20576-0-06007600-1419710954_thumb.j

Phil

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Thanks so much for your help everyone I now have a much clearer idea of the assault in which Fred Debenham lost his life but am slightly surprised that his body was not recovered as there is little reference to heavy bombardment of our troops in that sector and all objectives were gained and secured for at least several days. The action had been well rehearsed with everyone having a specific assignment on the day, plus the fact that the platoons were school chums. Anyhow we will never know now. That is the chaos of war!

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There are a total of 22 out of 29 casualties from the Battalion on that day, recorded by CWGC, that are on the Loos Memorial.

The other 7 are now buried in Caberet-Rouge British Cemetery. They were all concentrated from 44a.M.4.b.7.3 (Sheet 44a was a re-numbering of Sheet 36c)

As you say, that is the chaos of war.

Phil

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Thanks Phil. I have just looked at your www.philevans.org research pages, with particular reference to St Laurence Church Panels and your supplementary list of names. I couldn't help but notice

GLADWIN Walter George

Private 1946, 1st/20th (County of London) Battalion (Blackheath and Woolwich) London Regiment. Killed in action on 25th September 1915. Enlisted in Blackheath. Remembered on the LOOS MEMORIAL

Same Battalion as 1949 FREDERICK ERNEST DEBENHAM of 1/20th (Blackheath and Woolwich) battalion, London Regiment died on 25 September 1915, aged 21. Loos.

I wonder if Walter was also a pupil at St Dunstan's College, Stanstead Road, Catford and if they joined up on the same day.

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The St Dunstan's RoH can be found here. I don't know if it is complete, but Gladwin is on it. I believe there was a book published.

I don't have any further info in my notes and couldn't find a service record for him, but there is a photo of him here.

Phil

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The book:

St. Dunstan's College, Catford, London, S.E.6: Roll of Honour for the First World War, 1914-19

ISBN 10: 1871627001 / 1-871627-00-1
ISBN 13: 9781871627008
Publisher: Norman W. Collett
Publication Date: 1988

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Debenham, Frederick Ernest

Dates:

War Service:
Lance Corporal 1949 FREDERICK ERNEST DEBENHAM of 1/20th (Blackheath and Woolwich) battalion, London Regiment died on 25 September 1915, aged 21.

He has no known grave and is commemorated on the Loos Memorial

Location of Memorial:
He is remembered on the on the 20th London Regiment Roll of Honour and on the war memorials at St George's church, Catford, St Dunstan’s College and and in the pages of the History of The Old Dunstonian Rugby Football Club.

Details:
He was the son of Ernest Frederic and Rhoda Emily Debenham, of 342, Stanstead Rd., Catford. He attended Clydesdale Road school in Lee and St Dunstan’s College in Catford from 1904 –1910.

Source:
St Dunstan's College Roll of Honour 1914-1919 : D W Collett, BA (1988)

There are a lot of entries for 20 London Regiment and lots more showing only London Regiment

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Thanks for further clues and links. I have now also started following up the lives of some of the other St Dunstan's Old Boys, several of whom were killed at Loos in the same action. I hope to send my research to Lewisham War Memorials site. (So may be asking for further help)

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Good luck with that one Hookleg. I sent them my St Andrew's research nearly 5 years ago and they did nothing with it. That's how my website came about. I passed all my St Andrew's info over to Kev Loughnane (another local GWF member) and I believe it was his wife who updated the page and added the outstanding individual entries. Some people have the technology - I don't.

The Local Studies room at the main library is rarely open these days, but I think they may have a copy of the book I mentioned above.

Phil

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If they are not interested do you think I should post it on this forum and if so how would I go about it. If not here what would members recommend? I have only just started researching and have only looked at St Dunstan's boys in the1/20th battalion.

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Phil,

When I approached the local history centre at Lewisham Library regarding the St Andrew's project they did appear to be interested, but then it was approaching the centenary and I suppose that more people were becoming involved. I gave them a copy (making it known that it wasn't all my work!!) and it was they who updated their website. I got the impression that they were confused as to who was responsible for the updating of the site. My wife "advertised" the project on the Facebook page of the local residents association and offered copies to anybody who wanted one. There was a little bit of interest and I think that we emailed copies to approximately 20 people. I also gave a copy to the priest at St Andrew's and I believe that it may have been he who put cards through the doors at the addresses where the fallen were known to have lived.

Hookleg,

If you want a copy of the St Andrew's project then please PM me your email address and I will happily send it to you.

Regards,

Kev Loughnane

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Hello Kev,

I was going to drop you a line if you didn't turn up here sometime soon!

I stand corrected. I thought that the Local Studies had abandoned it completely, especially after the cuts in the department. I know Andy Pepper did a lot of the donkey work for them, but although, I believe, anyone can add individual entries, by creating a new page and using the template, linking names to memorials is password protected, due to the ability to accidentally hit the destruct button.

I also suddenly remembered Paul Leach's site 20thlondonregiment.com. Unfortunately I found that the domain expired a couple of days ago. There was a lot of useful information on it and some great photos.

Phil

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Phil,

I suspect that the issue with the local history centre was just a matter of timing? The last time that I spoke to them (well over a year ago) they appeared to be very keen to get as much information as possible on all the memorials in the borough. I think that the approaching centenary may have been a wake up call for them. It was mentioned that Andy Pepper was doing the updates on their site but he had disapeared off the radar. I think that this may have been the reason that the site wasn't touched for so long, rather than disinterest?

I also remembered Paul Leach's site but wasn't aware that the domain had expired. I had emailed him a couple of times with some pictures found in the Mercury and Catford Journal and although he initially replied, he also seems to have slipped off the radar. I hope that he is OK.

Take care,

Regards,

Kev Loughnane

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I also tried to access Paul Leach's site 20thlondonregiment.com. and was just 24 hours out as well !!

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Thanks Kev. Do you have a link to a web page for the St Andrews list? I don't seem to be able to find it.

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Hookleg,

I hope that the following works. It should be a link to the list on the Lewisham Local History website.

http://lewishamwarmemorials.wikidot.com/names:st-andrew-s-church-ww1-ww2

I took a quick look at the Lewisham Local History list for St Dunstans and noted that a few other names from St. Andrew's are also there.

I hope that this is of use to you? As said before, I am happy to send my (finished) St Andrew's project to you. It does include some photographs taken from the local newspapers of the time.

Regards,

Kev Loughnane

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Also looking at another 1/20th (Blackheath and Woolwich) battalion soldier who died 99 years ago today, 1 Jan 1916, at No. 4 General Hospital which was located in Versailles. Was wondering if he would have been likely to have been wounded at Loos and then transferred via field hospitals etc to Versailles. (250km). Can't see other actions for 'Blackheath and Woolwich' between Loos(Sept-Oct) and end of 1915 which would fit the facts.

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Hookleg,

Would this be Wilfred Vernon Hyatt? If so SDGW shows that he "Died" on the 1st Jan 1916, as opposed to "Killed in Action" or "Died of Wounds". He is also listed in a public member tree on Ancestry so it may be worth contacting the trees owner to see if they know any more about him?

Regards,

Kev Loughnane

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