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The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

Remembered Today:

Royal Naval Division- Antwerp Oct 1914


Nick1914
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Dear All, tracking the OFFICER casualties at the above action and have the below fatalities:

Pryce-Browne/William Herbert Francis

Foote/Richard Christopher Gorges

Maxwell/Aymer Edward

Ridge/Edwyn Manners

Hanson/Oswald Hesketh

and the following non-fatal or PoWs:

Greig/Louis Leisler

Coode/C H

Grant/G G

Harrison/J

Mecklenburg/Albert Paul

Southin/Charles Alec

Macartney/R H

Williamson/David

Wilson/Roy Buchanan

Taylor/R P

Mitford/Ernest Rupert Bertram Ogilvy Freeman-

Crossman/R

Dobson/Theodore Y

Miller/G H

Grover/F C

I understand there was a seminal dbase put together called the "Jack Clegg Archive" which is available on some ancestry websites. I'm reasonably comfortable that the fatalities list is almost right but equally convinced I'm well short on the non-fatals.

Can any member add info. Also any bio info but especially full names, ages etc plus where Commission held eg RNVR or Regular? Other helpful info would be specific units which they were in(eg Benbow...Collingwood etc)specifically for Coode,Harrison, Mitford and Grover - I have the rest.

Finally if members still have any patience I can find very little info on Major William Herbert Francis Pryce-Browne. Seems he was an ex Regular comm'd in 1890 but then retired and on Reserve of Officers - who was he!

Thanks with trepidation!

Nick

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If any were among those who entered Holland after withdrawing from Antwerp, then their photo should be on the database set up for those interned at Groningen...

James

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Yes indeed Horatio.....I've already enriched the PRO with war diary downloads and PoW repatriation reports.....the latter in many cases very thin on facts for £3=30!

Best, Nick

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A quick check through your list reveals that: 1. Not all of these men served in the RND at Antwerp (e.g. COODE); 2. Not all of them were officers at Antwerp (e.g. SOUTHIN). 3. There were internees as well as POWs (e.g. MECKLENBURGH). 4. Not all were wounded/casualties (e.g. WILLIAMSON).

RND record cards for RM officers do not exist.

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Dear Horatio, you are quite right.....sloppy on my part. I was including internees "generally as PoWs" in my posting which is obviously wrong but have things correctly labelled in my dbase. The list below I believe now fits with your comments the rest being PoW or wounded:

Grant/G G - evaded

Mecklenburg/Albert Paul - interned Holland

Southin/Charles Alec - interned

Macartney/R H - interned

Williamson/David - interned

Wilson/Roy Buchanan - interned

Taylor/R P - interned

With regard to Coode I have him down as having shrapnel in the shoulder but can't locate my source. I know he was active later in the war. Can any member perhaps share views or info on Captain Coode who was I understand a Royal Naval Officer rather than a marine.

Best, Nick

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Surgeon WILLIAMSON was not interned. He and his Benbow Battalion stretcher-bearers (RM bandsmen) did enter Holland on 9 October but, as non-combatants, they could not be interned and they sailed to England from Flushing on 11 October 1914.

Captain Cuthbert Harold COODE RMLI served with the Armoured Car Section attached to the RNAS (The Motor Bandits) and was not, to my knowledge, ever in the RND, although he was at Antwerp. There is a fair amount on him in "Fights and Flights" by Charles Rumney Samson. Samson records that he visited "Coode and three of our wounded men" in hospital in Antwerp. He was possibly wounded in the earlier armoured cars action around Douai.

"Britain's Sea Soldiers" (Blumberg) also has frequent mention of his activities. He joined 2/RMLI RND on 5 Jan 1918, became 2i/c on 17 Jan and assumed command on 28 Jan when the CO was killed. On 18 Feb Major COODE was wounded in the front line.

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Dear Horatio, you are quite right.....sloppy on my part. I was including internees "generally as PoWs" in my posting which is obviously wrong but have things correctly labelled in my dbase. The list below I believe now fits with your comments the rest being PoW or wounded:

Grant/G G - evaded

Mecklenburg/Albert Paul - interned Holland

Southin/Charles Alec - interned

Macartney/R H - interned

Williamson/David - interned

Wilson/Roy Buchanan - interned

Taylor/R P - interned

With regard to Coode I have him down as having shrapnel in the shoulder but can't locate my source. I know he was active later in the war. Can any member perhaps share views or info on Captain Coode who was I understand a Royal Naval Officer rather than a marine.

Best, Nick

MECKLENBURG was a leading seaman at Antwerp, escaped from internment in May 1915 and was commissioned RNVR in September 1915.

SOUTHIN was am able seaman at Antwerp, escaped from internment in June 1915 and was commissioned into the army in August 1915.

I assume you mean Arthur Percy TAYLOR (not RP) who was an acting able seaman at Antwerp, escaped from internment in May 1915 and was commissioned RNVR in September 1915.

There were at least another 15 officers and ratings (later officers) of the RND who escaped from internment or POW camp after Antwerp.

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Nick - I guess you may have this but just in case:

Aymer Edward Maxwell – age 36 – Lieutenant Colonel: Commanding the Collingwood Battalion, Royal Naval Division. Captain 1st Lovat Scouts Yeomanry and formerly Captain Grenadier Guards.

Educated at Eton and at the Royal Military College, Sandhurst he was commissioned in the Grenadier Guards in 1897 and served with them in the South African War. He retired as a Captain in 1907 but joined the Lovat Scouts in 1911 and was placed on the Reserve of Officers. He rejoined the Grenadiers at the outbreak of war and was posted, with a temporary commission in the Royal Marines, to command the Collingwood Battalion in the newly formed Naval Division; tasked with defence of the port of Antwerp. He was wounded during the first German attack and died in the Military Hospital on the following day.

Born 1877 in Edinburgh.

Son of Sir Herbert Eustace Maxwell, Bart. of Monreith and of Lady Maxwell (Mary Fletcher-Campbell).

Husband of Lady Mary (Percy) Maxwell of House of Elrig, Mochrum who he married in 1909 in St. George Hanover Square, London.

Died of Wounds – 9 October 1914.

Commonwealth War Grave – Schoonselhof Cemetery, Antwerp, Belgium.

Named on the Mochrum Parish War Memorial in Port William, Wigtownshire and on the Parish Church memorial.

Also named on a plaque in the Maxwell Mausoleum in Kirkmaiden Old Churchyard, Monreith and on a plaque in the Crichton Chapel at the former Royal Institution in Dumfries.

And the father of Gavin Maxwell ("Ring of Bright Water", etc)

Ken

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  • 2 weeks later...

A Rotherham man -

Leonard Grimmer was born in Masbrough Rotherham in 1891 to George and Florence Grimmer. They lived at 42 Broom Grove Rotherham. He was a colliery labourer and enlisted in the York and Lancaster regiment but was transferred to Hawke battalion Royal Naval Division service number KW 772. He landed in France on 20 Sep 1914 and was involved in the defence of Antwerp from 4 Oct 1914. He was taken as a prisoner of war on 9 Oct 1914 and died in captivity on 15 Apr 1918 aged 27. The International Red Cross records state he died from injuries by intentionally falling from a window but the Commonwealth War Graves Commission give the reason for death as heart failure. He is buried at Berlin South Western cemetery.

The OP is interested in OFFICER casualties, not ratings, (Post #1) but as regards Leonard Grimmer a few corrections to the above:-

Full cause of death per RND Roll of Honour:-

"Committed suicide whilst POW at 1.45 in the Union Hospital Rudolf Virchow Berlin, from fracture of base of skull & paralysis of heart, through jumping out of a window 12-15 metres high."

His official number was KW/722, not 772

Hawke Battalion (with the other naval battalions of the RND) landed at Dunkirk on Monday 5 October, not 20 September, arriving at Antwerp on 6 October..

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Thank you Horatio. I have deleted my post on this topic to avoid misleading anyone and have amended my notes on Grimmer.

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Quite interesting.

I know little about the Naval Division, but a lot about the other guys at Antwerp, since my grand-father fought there (as a staff officer) with the Huns, in the Generalkommando of the 3. Reserve=Korps. So if you have a question about the other guys, I might have a lead.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Hi Bob Lembke, I am trying to find ANY evidence of what happended to Hood Battalion's Band instruments during the RND's retreat from Antwerp. Popular legend in Dundee, where the band members came from claims that the Band buried or hid their instruments in a cellar. Their instuments belonged to HMS Unicorn, the RNVR drill ship in Dundee (and still in Dundee today) and the band members were civilians who volunteered in August 1914 and were given distinctive Official Numbers. The second part of the legend implies that a public subscription replaced the lost instruments. The final part says that the Belgian instruments were recovered after the Armistice. However, I have been unable to find evidence of this. On the off chance does the other side have any leads? Thank you.

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Wallace2;

A bit of a "shaggy dog story".

My grandfather's headquarters received a telegram from the War Ministry for a search for useful booty, especially explosives, and as my g-f was an explosives expert he went off with an escort and staff cars to look for useful material. I have a list of what he found, some odd things, like a train car load (or three) of eau de Cologne, but the most important item was 1200 car loads of nitrates; he found the secret Belgian national stockpile of explosives (raw material). He seemingly found it with his trained nose, sniffing out the buried material with his trained nose. He reportedly received a commendation, and I know that at that time he received both the Iron Cross Second Class, and then in short order the Iron Cross First Class. Supposedly this material was enough to keep the Germans fighting for three months, until the Nobel Laureate chemist Linde discovered how to make explosives literally from air. (the corporation Linde Gas still sells industrial and medical gasses.) So g-f must bear some responsibility for the continuation of four years of carnage.

To return to your band instruments; I have never seen mention of them in my readings about Antwerp, and I would think that the discovery of them would have been very unlikely to have made it into any official note. I have read of German soldiers in a village playing instruments and singing, and gradually the nervous villagers came out of their houses and joined the soldiers in song. The Flemish villagers often were very friendly with the Germans, cooking them meals (the Germans did not seem to have organized supply of foodstuffs; I have heard of a battalion commander being issued 10,000 gold marks to feed his men, he gave each company commander 2000 gold marks, and kept the rest himself as a reserve. This might lead to the small units trying to get the locals to cook for them. As the war developed an organized food train was set up.) The Walloon (French-speaking) residents were more likely to take pot shots at the invaders than sing with them, once my g-f had to jump out of his staff car and crawl under it, under fire, and his letters often mentioned the firing, and his delight in leaving a city for the safer open country.

But, again, no mention of "liberated" band instruments, and I would think that the Huns would have assumed that such material, if found, was Belgian.

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  • 1 month later...

Bob Lempke, Thank you for your reply. A Dundee source has produced a post war Unicorn Band letter which implies the instruments were left in a Belgian school and reclaimed after the war.

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  • 3 years later...
On 07/01/2016 at 10:51, horatio2 said:

The original RND records of all these men are held at the Fleet Air Arm Museum. They will contain all the information you are seeking. fleetairarm.enquiries@NMRN.org.uk .

Your fatalities list is complete.

Except my Granddad Albert Paul Mecklenburg did not die but escaped.  He went on to lose his arm in the battle of Ancre in 1916. 

Edited by Prue Peters
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