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Remembered Today:

9th Norfolks, 19/04/18 what happened?


Mark Crame

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Hi, my brother has got me looking into the casualties from his village who died during and after WW1. Charles Gaskins was killed 19th April 1918 with 9th Bn Norfolk Regiment...can anyone help with the location and events of the day please? And/or any details about him other than what I've got from CWGC and the MIC's?

 

Many thanks in advance!

 

Regards

Mark

IMG-20170506-WA0009.jpg

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#18468 Gaskins died at 62nd Casualty Clearing Station of wounds.

 

Craig

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If you have ancestry access the war diary for April 1918 is here

Piece 1623/1-5: 71 Infantry Brigade: 9 Battalion Norfolk Regiment (1915 Aug - 1919 Apr) image page 340

regards

Jon

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First name(s) Charles
Last name Gaskins
Service number 18468
Rank Private
Regiment Norfolk Regiment
Battalion 9th Battalion.
Birth place Hellesden, Norfolk
Residence -
Enlistment place Norwich, Norfolk
Death year 1918
Death day 19
Death month 4
Cause of death Died of wounds
Death place France & Flanders
Theatre of war Western European Theatre
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I don't I'm afraid, but I may have a friend who does. Thank you!

 

Great info on the CCS too, thanks!

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On that date they were in the area of Vlamertinghe, Ypres, Belgium

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The battalion only arrived at Vlamertinghe late on 19 April. Between 14 and 18 April they had been in action at Mont de Lille and Kemmel.

 

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I wonder why he "deserves to be especially commemorated"?

 

 

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Could be he was born in Hellesden, Norfolk

and died in a "Hells Den"!

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16 minutes ago, Phil Wood said:

I wonder why he "deserves to be especially commemorated"?

 

 

Mark mentioned in another post that the man was the only one from the parish who died so I'd guess it was because he was a local.

Craig

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Nice idea Jon, but I suspect Craig has the answer!  

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The war gratuity shows he had 39 months qualifying service at the time of his death.

 

Craog

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Hi, sorry chaps, been offline. No reason for special commemoration other than my brother asked me to find out about the CWGC headstone (Basil Murton) in the churchyard then spotted this. The villagers are doing grounds maintenance this weekend. He had mentioned about them doing something to commemorate him later in the year and he knows I do this sort of thing sometimes (or rather did, just the odd random bit here and there for me now). Hopefully they'll do something with it - it will be the death of Charles Gaskins centenary in a year so I think its about time they should.

Thanks for your help so far guys! Much appreciated.

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Thank you all for your assistance. Between the information posted here and Google I have compiled the following so far:

 

18468 Private Charles Gaskins. 9th Battalion, Norfolk Regiment, 71st Infantry Brigade, 6th Division.

Born in Hellesden, Norfolk he enlisted at Norwich and had 39 months qualifying service at the time of his death, being recorded as having died of wounds on 19th April 1918 at 62nd Casualty Clearing Station, Bandrighem. He is buried in plot II.F.38 at Haringhe (Bandaghem) Military Cemetery, Belgium. Bandaghem, like Dozinghem and Mendinghem, were the popular names given by the troops to groups of casualty clearing stations posted to this area during the First World War. The cemetery site was chosen in July 1917 for the 62nd and 63rd Casualty Clearing Stations and burials from these and other hospitals (notably the 36th Casualty Clearing Station in 1918) continued until October 1918.

The battalion were in action at Mont de Lille and Kemmel between 14-18th April and it is likely that Private Gaskins was wounded during either the Battle of Bailleul (Lys) between 13-15th April 1918 or the First Battle of Kemmel Ridge betweem 17-19th April 1918.

On 14th April the battalion moved into the line at Dranoutre. By the 15th, 9th Norfolks had come under the temporary command of 1st Battalion, the Leicester Regiment. They had already lost heavily in their rearguard action during the 21st March enemy offensive and the draft of men originally destined for 1/4th Battalion Leicesters had helped bring them back up to strength.

On 15th April they were manning the front line near Crucifix corner, Dranoute, on which day the "Enemy gained footing in trench but B Co counter-attack pushed them out, though they were forced to retire under heavy pressure keeping touch with 1st Leisters at Clapham Junction"  according to 9th Norfolks' War Diary. 1st Leicesters recorded:“(Next day) D and A companies were in front line, C in support and B in reserve. Arrangements had been made for C to counter attack if necessary but its losses owing to the continuous heavy bombardment commencing at noon on the 15th necessitated B taking it's place as the counter attack force. At 2.30pm on the 15th the enemy advanced and by 3pm had gained a foothold in the front trenches. From these he was once again driven out by B company. Although B held the line and formed a defensive flank they were eventually themselves driven out due to their exposed position." 9th Norfolks were then ordered into Divisional Reserve at Mount Kemmel, half being positioned east of Locre, the other half on the road leading northwest from Kemmel. The line was formed along the railway with the 1st Leicesters on the left at Clapham Junction. Having been recorded as being in "Close support of 1st Leisters" on the 18th,  they were moved back behind Mt Kemmel at 10.30pm before being pulled out of the line: "Relieved by French and moved to Westoutre and on to Ouderdom" arriving at Vlamertinghe late on 19th April.

 

1st Leicester’s Battalion War Diary, 15th April 1918:

 

The war diary for today records that the Battalion were in the front line in the Neuve Eglise sector. Patrols sent out throughout the night, no definite information gained. One prisoner a German Officer captured on Neuve Eglise – Dranoutre Road. At 10.30am Operational Order number 300 received from Brigade placing one Company of 9th Norfolk Regiment hitherto attached to us under order of Officer Commanding 9th Norfolk Regiment. Quiet morning, Brigade Major and Brigade I. O. called at 12 o clock and went round line with Commanding Officer. At 1.30pm very heavy shelling of area held by Battalion commenced. The shelling gradually increased in intensity and reached its climax about 3.00pm. Telephone lines to Brigade held until about 3.15pm and from communications heard it was gathered that 9th Norfolk Regiment on our right had been attacked and driven back. A counter attack temporally resolved the situation, but remaining troops were not sufficiently strong to hold the line. This made the position of our right Company somewhat precarious, but they held on although a runner reported at Battalion HQ’s that they had left some of their trenches at 3.15pm. A defensive flank was formed valley in S. 12.d. by one platoon of B Company and Battalion HQ’s. Later reports indicated that A company were compelled to evacuate their trenches about 4.30pm owing to very heavy shelling and in order to get touch with 9th Norfolk Regiment on right, who had withdrawn to the line of the railway S.12.a. At 4.25pm D Company on left reported that everything was all right, casualties slight. B Company reported frequently during bombardment 1.30 to 3.30pm about which time the intensity of the bombardment considerably decreased. At 5.00pm the enemy brought up a field gun to within a few hundred yards of the front line which commenced firing point blank at our trenches. At 6.30pm a message was received from A Company advising that their line ran as follows: - S.12.d. 20.50 (12 men), S.12.d. 30.70 (6 men), S.12.d. 50.80 (7 men). Enemy at S.12.c and advancing, nobody visible on right. One platoon of C Company under 2nd Lt. Sims had been sent to support A Company about 4.30pm. At 7.15pm situation advised to Brigade as follows: - Left Company as usual. Left centre Company as usual except for one platoon in reserve sent to reinforce right Company. Right centre Company strong point T.7.a. 15.80 to S.12.d. 90.60. A Company and one platoon of C Company, HQ’s S.12.d. 75.50 to S.12.d. 30.50 facing east-south, one platoon at S.12.a. 70.60. Still in reserve one platoon left centre Company. Battalion HQ’s established at T.7.a. 15.00. Enemy believed to be at S.12.d. 70.20 and S.12.c. 20.20. At 7.50pm remaining reserve platoon sent to assist right Company to hold their line. Instructions sent to A Company not to retire except under pressure and to join up with 9th Norfolk Regiment holding line of railway in S.12.a. if need be. At 8.00pm A Company reported enemy concentrating for an attack on their front and more men urgently needed to help hold his line, all available servants and orderlies were sent forward pending arrival of 12 men asked for from C Company. Eventually enough men were obtained to hold the line continuously, the support platoon of D Company being called upon to fill the gap. Barrage was put down by the artillery and the attack came to nothing. Officer Commanding B Company reported all quiet at 9.20pm. At 9.00pm Brigade Operational Order number 301 was received informing us to hold on to our positions. Casualties, other ranks A Company 3 killed, 25 wounded, 8 missing. B Company 11 wounded. C Company 2 killed, 7 wounded, 1 missing. D Company 2 killed, 1 missing. Casualties, officers Lt. A. Hill killed, Lt. W. Clancey wounded.

 

The German Lys Offensive

As the weather conditions began to improve after the winter, a second phase of the offensive, codenamed “Operation Georgette” in the German plan was the start of the Battle of the Lys (9 - 29th April 1918). The offensive was launched against the Allied line in the low-lying, British-held sector on both sides of the Lys river in French Flanders. The German objective was the important Allied rail centre of Hazebrouck. If the town could be captured there would be an opportunity to push the German advance further west to reach the French coast and, in so doing, cut off the British, French and Belgian forces holding the Ypres Salient in Belgium.

On the first day the German Sixth Army attack was launched against two divisions of the Portuguese Army, holding the Allied Front Line between La Bassée and Armentières. The Portuguese could not withstand the force of the attack and the Germans captured almost four miles of ground. On the following day, 10th April, the German Fourth Army made an attack a little further to the north against the British Second Army holding the Front Line in Belgian Flanders. The British were pushed back beyond the villages of Messines and Wyteschaete, which they had captured in the successful Battle of Messines (7 - 14th June 1917) almost exactly one year before. The situation for the British was very serious by 12th April, which compelled them, under the leadership of General Plumer, to make tortuous decisions about making tactical withdrawals to positions which could be more easily defended. Passchendaele, the village on the crest of the ridge which had eventually been captured after weeks of terrible fighting in the summer and autumn of 1917, was one of the areas of ground reluctantly given up to the tactical withdrawal.

 

The German attacks continued against the British line and also against the Belgian Army holding the line north of Ypres but no ground was gained. French reinforcements arrived to support the British defence on the high ground of Mount Kemmel. The Germans attacked these newly arrived French troops on 25 April. By 29 April the German offensive had been blocked and no further attacks were made. The Germans had not captured any of their objectives as the Allies had held onto Hazebrouck and the Channel ports.

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Glad I could help

Nicely put together report

I hope it inspires others to similar efforts

 

regards

Jon

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Minor detail, Mark, but on 9 April only one Portuguese division was in the line and faced the German attack. The other division was in reserve.

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Mark,

 

The place name is actually Hellesdon, but Charles isn't on the Hellesdon War Memorial. I've never made it inside the church, (always locked, no keyholder) but I'm assuming this plaque isn't inside. There were certainly more than one man from that Parish who made the ultimate sacrifice.

 

I then took a look at the Census records. There is only one Charles Gaskins recorded in Norfolk, but there isn't a Hellesdon connection.

1891 Census. Charles F.J. Aged 5. Born Cawston, Norfolk. Parents  Edward, (31, Farm Labourer, born Cawston) and Mary, (30, born Banningham, Norfolk). He had 4 siblings. Living at Newton Road, Great Dunham, Norfolk.

 

1901 Census. Charles. Aged 15. Agricultural Blacksmith. Parents were Edward, (42) and Mary, (39). All of them plus 5 siblings are shown as born Great Dunham. They are all shown as living North Street, Great Dunham.

 

1911 Census. Charles. Aged 25. Farmer. Born Cawston. Married Head of Household at Street, Sporle, Near Swaffham, Norfolk. His wife was Mabel, (aged 27, born Sporle). Its not clear how long the couple have been married, possibly 4 years, but so far there are no children.

Also living with them is Charles’ brother Arthur, aged 13, born Great Dunham.

 

Charles is not on the Sporle War Memorial. However an Arthur F Gaskins, son of Edward and Mary, is.

http://www.breckland-rollofhonour.org.uk/sporle.html

http://www.cwgc.org/find-war-dead/casualty/1742662/GASKINS,%20ARTHUR%20FRANK

 

Confusingly on the Electoral Register Charles is recorded as “Gaskin”.

https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:2HTF-1G1

 

There is a baptism for a Charles Frederick John Gaskins, no date of birth recorded, which took place at St Andrew, Great Dunham, Norfolk on the 17th June 1888. Parents were Edward, a Labourer and Mary Elizabeth.

https://www.freereg.org.uk/search_records/5818f32be93790eca321db30?search_id=591222354325a65730283a2a&ucf=false

 

So now I'm totally intrigued - where is it -  please put me out of my misery :-)

 

Thanks,

Peter

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Out of your misery? You've made me miserable now! Great Dunham is 40 miles away...Thanks for checking it out Peter!

 

Thinking outside the box...

 

...Oh. That's that cleared that up. Like a ploughed field. Answers the question but not how we might want:

 

http://www.cwgc.org/find-war-dead/casualty/1270674/GASKINS, LEONARD CHARLES

 

!!!!!

 

So...this plaque is inside the church at Stockton, near Beccles. It's in Norfolk, just. Was it Norfolk then or was he living across the river in Suffolk? This is a bit 'Hmmmmm' now! Think I might go out that way and look around churchyards today for names on headstones.

 

 

 

 

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Curiouser and curiouser.

 

There are no Gaskin\Gaskins family members on the 1911 census with a connection to Stockton, Norfolk, (that I can see!). There is no Charles Gaskins in Suffolk, and the choice of Charles Gaskin with a Suffolk connection are a 76 year old living in the Stow District Workhouse and a 2 year old Arthur Charles living in Bury St Edmunds.

 

I know Stockton Church - although its another one I couldn't gain access to. I have however been around the churchyard and there were no CWGC headstones or even a commemoration on a family headstone to someone who had fallen in a foreign land.

 

This site has a list of the headstones in the churchyard - can't vouch for how accurate it is. But no Gaskins \ Gaskin.

http://www.gravestonephotos.com/public/cemeterynamelist.php?cemetery=160&limit=1&scrwidth=1200

 

I tracked down a householder in Stockton, a farmer called Charles Tills, in order to be able to identify the correct pages of the Electoral Register.

 

I concentrated on the 1915 edition, (i.e. the one prepared at the end of 1914 for use in 1915). That's the latest the FamilySearch site currently goes up to.

The householder voters page has no Gaskins \ Gaskin.

https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:2H17-5W2

If you open up the scanned original document on that link, you'll have the option to look at the next page, which gives the landowner voters. That second category often features individuals who live elsewhere but have the right to vote and I find sometimes comes in useful when establishing a link between an officer and a locality when everything else has been exhausted. But I'm afraid no Gaskins \ Gaskin there either.

 

In passing that lists the Reverend William Stephens as the occupant of the Rectory. The link could come through him or one of the other landowners, who would probably be in a better position to stump up for such a memorial to be put in place. However could take a graet deal of genealogy work to prove it.

 

Permission for such a memorial would have come from the ecclesiastical Norwich Consistory Court - Bishop of Norwichs' See stretched down to nearly Lowestoft. I've had a quick run through the newspaper reports on their sittings for the first three months of 1919 but Stockton doesn't feature. However a bit of a needle in a haystack - those requests were going through well into the twenties.

 

Sorry that's a whole lot of "nothings". Hope that sort of helps,

 

regards,

Peter

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Well we have been busy too! Walked Stockton, Kirby Cane and ellingham churchyards. No Gaskins spotted. I'm really confused. Perhaps he was somehow linked to a villager...worker on a farm? Dunno.

 

If you want access I'm sure my brother can facilitate this. Let me know! I'll take a good look at this later, my head hurts!!!

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As your probably aware the Eastern Daily Press and Jarrolds jointly produced a booklet in 1920 listing all the names that were going up on the new War Memorials for the County - gleaned from the EDP reports of the unveilings between May and December 1919. Charles Gaskins was definitely in there as the only name for Stockton, so that kind of puts an end date on the possible period in which he died.

 

Picture Norfolk has a picture of a William Charles Gaskins of Bungay - also of the 9th Norfolks, Unfortunately no additional information other than a date, (1915). Most of the Great War era soldier portraits in Picture Norfolk are of soldiers who died, but a few survived or died after discharge of their wounds.

https://norfolk.spydus.co.uk/cgi-bin/spydus.exe/ENQ/PICNOR/BIBENQ?ENTRY_NAME=BS&ENTRY=Gaskins&ENTRY_TYPE=K&NRECS=10&SORTS=SQL_REL_TITLE&SEARCH_FORM=%2Fcgi-bin%2Fspydus.exe%2FMSGTRN%2FPICNOR%2FBSEARCH%3FHOMEPRMS%3DBSEARCHPARAMS&CF=PICNOR&ISGLB=0&GQ=Gaskins

 

Still no obvious match - the only W.Gaskins on CWGC died aged 19 in 1918 and has additional information that links him to Darlington - one only hopes we are not looking at a man remembered in the wrong Stockton!

 

There are no Gaskins remembered on the Bungay Town Memorial, and I'm 99.9% certain there were no additional names on the Roll of Honour in the church.

 

Now may be a co-incidence, but there is a marriage of a William Charles Gaskins to a Hilda Randall recorded in the Loddon District of Norfolk in the January to March quarter, (Q1), of 1913. This was the Civil Registration District that included Stockton.

 

On the 1901 Census there is a 13 year old Hilda Randall living with her parents at Heckingham. They were John, (48, Teamster on Farm, born Aylsham) and Sarah Ann, (47, born Heydon). Its difficult to make out the census takers handwriting but my best guess is that Hilda was born Hindolveston. Her next youngest sibling was born Hethel. There is no obvious match on the 1911 census but there is a 21 year old Hilda Randall born Hethel recorded as a live in servant at a household in Lowestoft. I've long ago learnt to take information given by employers and landlords with a large pinch of salt, so as there is no match on the earlier censuses for the Hethel born woman, I think they are one and the same.

Her parents were still living at Heckingham.

 

There are no births registered in England and Wales of children with the surname Gaskins, mothers maiden name Randall. If I had found some then it would have cast serious doubt on whether that William died in the Great War if the birth dates had continued well into the twenties. An absence isn't anywhere as positive an outcome. For all I know at this point William and Hilda may have lived a long life together but may not have been able to have children or decided not to. There could also be admin and transcription errors in what has been published by the General Registrars Office - a "Gaskin" recorded with mothers maiden name Randle or Randell for example.

 

There is no MiC for a Gaskins serving with the Norfolk Regiment other than the Charles we already know about. There is no obvious death between 1914 and 1921 in England and Wales.

 

Best guess is that even if William Charles isn't your man, that's the sort of connection you're probably looking for - maternal grandparents who have moved to the area and a mother that wasn't born in Stockton. Given the lack of obvious CWGC commemoration I was beginning to wonder about munitions worker or trawlerman, (non RNR Trawler section) or even internee. However the munitions worker would have had to die in Scotland or Ireland, the trawlerman would have to died there or aboard a foreign flagged ship ton avoid the GRO deaths at sea register.

 

Time for more tea and a fresh think :-)

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Thanks so much for all the time you've spent on this!

 

Charles Gaskins of 9th Norfolks died of wounds at 62nd CCS on 19th April 1918; I can't see it not being this man. With many people using a name that wasn't their Christian name I suspect this might be the case here, with William Charles enlisting as Charles only for whatever reason and being commemorated as such. It's not proof of course and with William Charles having a moustache I can't really judge the age! Bungay would fit though.

 

Could also be a travelling farmhand-for hire who was helping with the harvest or suchlike when the recruitment occurred, or adopted possibly like Basil Murton who was buried there in 1920?  

 

Really not sure what avenue would winkle out the full story.

 

William Charles Gaskins.jpg

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I think they're the same person.
 

The effects records for #18468 Charles Gaskins were paid to his sole legatee and widow, Hilda.
 

The only marriage which matches is William C Gaskins who married Hilda Randall in Loddon in the March quarter of 1913 - the same found in post #22

The fact that the effects records mentions 'sole legatee' means that there was a will left - this can be found here, https://probatesearch.service.gov.uk/Wills?surname=gaskins&yearOfDeath=1918&advancedSearch=False&IsGrantSearch=False#soldiers

Craig

Edited by ss002d6252
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