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Guest Pete Wood

'Captain of Invalids' - Capt Ernest Ludlow MC

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Guest Pete Wood

The following officer was stationed, in married quarters, at Chelsea hospital - where his job description was Captain of Invalids.

In one report, I have seen that he had just retired from the army. However, as he was killed in an air raid (the bomb dropped on Chelsea hospital), and he is commemorated by the CWGC it seems this information is wrong - and that Ludlow was a serving officer.

But what does a 'Captain of Invalids' do....??

Any info on his MC also gratefully received.....

Thanks

:)

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Tom Morgan

I remember my father-in-law telling me the answer to this.......that the in-pensioners at the Royal Hospital are divided into companies, with a retired office "in command" of each and these officers have the rank "Captain of Invalids", so there are more than one. (Father-in-law was invited to apply to be an in-pensioner.)

Tom

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Terry Denham

Remembering a very interesting guided tour of Chelsea Hospital, a few facts are trying to creep back into my brain.

The residents used to be organised into 'companies' along military lines with a Captain of Invalids in charge of each.

I also vaguely remember being told that the Hospital was technically a military establishment and all the inmates were still in service until relatively recently - can't remember when this changed but I think it was before WW1!

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Terry Denham

RT

Thinking about your 'retired' officer and his commemoration by CWGC, there were a number of retired officers who were brought back to do temporary administrative jobs for the duration. If they died, CWGC commemorates them as still being in service.

There is one such Admiral buried here in Sussex, who was brought back to sail a desk during WW1 and do a job much below his previous status.

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NigelS

I've just come across some information on Ludlow's burial at Brookwood Cemetery (this is the civil one, not the military) in John M. Clarke's London's Necropolis: a Guide to Brookwood cemetery. Sadly it was not just Capt. Ludlow that was killed, but also his wife (Jessie Sophia), and his two sons (Ernest John, aged 10 and Bernard E, aged 4). Their house, within the grounds of the Royal Hospital, is said to have been destroyed on the 16th February 1918 by three large bombs dropped by one of six Gothas that had got through the London defences. The family is buried with a memorial erected by the officers of the Grenadier Guards 'In affectionate remembrance of a brave and esteemed colleague'

post-5512-1218574839.jpg

is any additional information on this Gotha raid known, and can anybody, some 3+ years after Pete's original enquiry, now give details of how Ludlow got his MC?

NigelS

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RobL

They weren't Gothas - they were Zeppelin Staaken R.VI giant bombers. Here's some info and photos on it, taken by me

Next to the National Army Museum, Chelsea, west London, is the Royal Hospital, home of the Chelsea pensioners. On the night of 16th/17th February 1918, five Zeppelin Staaken 'Giant' R.VI bombers departed their base at Ghent, Belgium and bombed London and Dover. According to German records, all five 'Giants' attacked, but according to British records only three did. 4,250 kilograms of bombs were dropped that night, killing twelve and injuring six. Although sixty sorties were undertaken by British aircraft to intercept the raid, none were shot down.

This was partly due to the huge size of the Giants (the wingspan was almost twice that of a Gotha, and one metre less than that of a B29 Superfortress from WW2), meaning that intercepting aircraft often confused them for Gothas and fired at too long range to be effective. They were also heavily armed with up to five machine guns, including captured British Lewis guns, still fitted with the cooling jacket (Lewis guns in aviation service usually had the cooling jackets removed, as the rush of air over the barrel was thought to have been more than adequate)

b1pa7.jpg

One 'Giant', R39, was the only one to be converted to carry a 1,000kg bomb (the plaque incorrectly says it was a 500lb bomb), and only three were ever dropped on the UK. The first to be dropped was on this raid, hit the north east wing of the Royal Hospital on the night of the 16th. Five were killed, and three children were pulled out of the rubble.

Rebuilt in 1921, the Royal Hospital was to be destroyed by a V2 rocket in 1945, and rebuilt yet again in 1965. Despite the fact the building was rebuilt identical to its previous design, the bricks are clearly lighter in colour than that of non affected buildings.

b2um0.jpg

b3lu8.jpg

It was this part of the building (up to the darker shade of brickwork) that was destroyed

R39, like all other 18 Zeppelin Staaken R.VI's, clearly showed its companys airship background in the design of its fuselage resembling a gondola (credit goes to my friend Lynsey for pointing that one out!). It took part in twenty bombing raids whilst in the service of Riesenflugzeug-Abteilung 501. It survived the war, and was lost in 1919 whilst flying to the Ukraine. Unfortunately, nothing but a few parts of these extremely impressive aircraft survive

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NigelS

The Ludlow Family's grave at Brookwood Cemetery

post-5512-1220301299.jpg

post-5512-1220301332.jpg

NigelS

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Stebie9173

Could this be him:

London Gazette 1-1-1915 (New Year's Honnour - no citation)

Serjeant-Major E. Ludlow, Grenadier Guards.

http://www.gazettes-online.co.uk/ViewPDF.a...mp;exact=Ludlow

One of the very first M.C.s (The Royal warrant instituting the Military Cross is on the previous page)

This page mentions him as a Lieutenant in the Granadier Guards, and regards his estate:

http://www.gazettes-online.co.uk/ViewPDF.a...mp;exact=Ludlow

Presumably:

Medal card of Ludlow, Ernest

Corps Regiment No Rank

Grenadier Guards 4947 Serjeant Major

Grenadier Guards Lieutenant

post-6536-1220304929.jpg

MID (LG 9-12-1914) with 2nd Grenadier Guards:

FOOT GUARDS.

2nd Battalion, Grenadier Guards.

Captain A. B. R. R. Gosselin.

Lieutenant Hon. W. A. Cecil.

Lieutenant R. W. G. Welby.

No. 4947 Serjeant-Major E. Ludlow.

No. 16272 Corporal F. Parsons.

No. 16202 Lance-Corporal P. McDonnell;

No. 14224 Private C. Rule.

http://www.gazettes-online.co.uk/ViewPDF.a...exact=Grenadier

Steve.

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Stebie9173

London Gazette extracts:

London Gazette 29-10-1915

FOOT GUARDS.

Grenadier Guards.

The undermentioned Second Lieutenants to be Lieutenants:

E. Ludlow. Dated 16th July, 1915.

C. G. Gardner. Dated 15th September, 1915.

(Substituted for the notification concerning these Officers which appeared in the Gazette of the 27th October, 1915.)

http://www.gazettes-online.co.uk/ViewPDF.a...act=E.%20Ludlow

London Gazette 13-12-1916

FOOT GUARDS.

G. Gds - Lt. E. Ludlow, M.C., is placed on the h p. List on account of ill-health. 14th Dec 1916.

http://www.gazettes-online.co.uk/ViewPDF.a...act=E.%20Ludlow

London Gazette 13-1-1917

MEMORANDA

Lt. E. Ludlow, M.C., h.p. List, retires on ret. pay. 14th Jan. 1917.

http://www.gazettes-online.co.uk/ViewPDF.a...act=E.%20Ludlow

One of these NA files may be for him (or the Guards Archives may have more information as well)

WO 339/44206 LUDLOW E, Capt 1894-1919; 1923

WO 339/129729 LUDLOW E [1914-1922]

(Number 4947 would appear to be an 1894 issue - 4868 issued May 1894, 5057 issued November 1894)

Steve.

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Stebie9173

There is an Ernest Ludlow, Lance-Sergeant Grenadier Guards, single, age 24 (born circa 1877 at Dartford, Kent) on the 1901 Census at Caterham Guard Depot, Surrey.

On a bit of a wing and a prayer, I think this is his marriage to "Jessie Sop Berry" (presumably Jessie Sophia Berry):

Name: Ernest Ludlow

Year of Registration: 1905

Quarter of Registration: Jul-Aug-Sep

District: Kingston

County: Middlesex, Surrey

Volume: 2a

Page: 874

and his children:

Ernest John Ludlow 1908 Jan-Feb-Mar Hartley Wintney Hampshire

Lawrence A Ludlow 1911 Jul-Aug-Sep Berry Hartley Wintney Hampshire

Bernard E Ludlow 1913 Jul-Aug-Sep Berry Whitechapel London, Middlesex

Basil G Ludlow 1917 Jul-Aug-Sep Berry Wandsworth Greater London, London, Surrey

(There may be others born before 1908, presumably including "Master G F Ludlow" as on the MIC)

Steve.

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NigelS

Steve, thanks for your rapid and detailed fidings; Your "on a wing and a prayer" looks pretty sound, I'd been going along the same route when you made your last post, at which point I retired for the night :) !

"Sop" is shown as sophia on the actual marriage index page so does tie up with name given on the memorial.

Found this page on the Chelsea Hospital site:

http://www.roll-of-honour.com/London/Royal...eaHospital.html

Which gives Alice Copley (Ludlow's Niece) was also killed; the Death Index gives her as aged 29.

Adding Alice Copley and Mstr G F Ludlow from the MIC to Capt. Ludlow, his Wife , and the four known birth records, the casualties given by RobL of 5 dead (being 3 adults & 2 children) and "three children pulled from the rubble" does make it look likely that the whole family was in the house at the time of the bombing. As you say there may well have been other children, but difficult to determine not being certain of the likely location for any other births together with the lack of mothers' maiden names on earlier birth indexes.

The Times for February 18th '18 gives:

SATURDAY'S RAID.

The following communiqu├ęs have been issued by the Field Marshal Commanding-in-Chief, Home Forces:-

SATURDAY MIDNIGHT.

Hostile aircraft crossed the Kent coast of the Thames Estuary shortly before 10 this evening, and proceeded towards London. The raid is still in progress.

So far only one bomb is reported as having been dropped in London.

SUNDAY. 10.45 A.M.

About half-a-dozen enemy aeroplanes made the mouth of the Thames about 9.45 last night and carried out an attack against London.

All were turned back save one machine. which penetrated into the capital along the line of the river and dropped a single bomb in the South-West district about 10 p.m. This bomb demolished a house and buried an invalided officer, his wife, and two children. Several other bombs were dropped by the raider in the eastern outskirts on its way in, but no serious casualties or damage are reported.

An attack which was delivered against Dover about 10.45 p.m. was driven off, some bombs being dropped in open country.

Several of our pilots engaged the enemy. One of them fought an action over the Kent coast, and shortly afterwards a large enemy machine was seen from the shore to crash into the sea. Police reports of casualties and damage have not yet been received, but are apparently light.

On the 19th The Times reported:

SATURDAY'S RAID.

The total casualties caused by the aeroplane raid on Saturday night were:-

KILLED.- 3 men, 5 women, 3 children - total. 11.

INJURED.- 1 man, 3 children - total, 4.

with the three children reported as "injured" likely to be the Ludlow Children.

One further snippet: the Court Circular published in the Times of June 8th '16 gives that at Buckingham Place the previous day (7th) the King had conferred the Military Cross on, amongst others, Lieutenant Ernest Ludlow, Grenadier Guards.

NigelS

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Stebie9173

I'm pretty confident that the "Captain" Ludlow file at the National Archives could be his, and if so should give the names of his dependents.

Know anyone in Surrey who can visit? ;)

You have to pity the 3 surviving children - buried in the night and their parents and brothers killed. They must have had nightmares for years. :(

Steve.

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NigelS

Know anyone in Surrey who can visit? obviously not a million miles away, but no plans to visit the NA in the immediate future, but who knows ... :)

You have to pity the 3 surviving children - buried in the night and their parents and brothers killed. They must have had nightmares for years. Remarkable that the youngest, Basil, would only have been only about 6 month old and survived - although we've no idea of what physical injuries they may have suffered. Can imagine it causing problems if they were anywhere near any bombing during WWII

NigelS

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klud

Captain Ernest Ludlow is my grandfather. My father is Basil G. Ludlow who was born on July 23rd 1917 and who along with his older brothers Lawrence, and 'Dick', survived the bombing raid of February 16th 1918 which left them as orphans. Basil Ludlow passed away on July 16th 2012 and was the last living survivor of that raid. The family in Canada and in the UK have a number of mementos in their possession including Captain Ludlow's medals which include the MC and the Bearer Medal (he was a pallbearer at the funeral of King Edward VII) among others, also his large collection of shooting trophies. Ludlow was deemed to be the "best shot in the British Army" at one time. His battalion in the Grenadier Guards included Harold Macmillan whose was later to become Prime Minister.

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