Jump to content
The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

Remembered Today:

Drummer Welsby of Welsh Guards


stephen p nunn
 Share

Recommended Posts

Evening all.

Those of you that know me and my posts will realise how fascinated I am by Canada Farm CWGC in Ypres (see previous posts). For some reason I feel really drawn to it every time we make a visit to the area.

For years I have wanted a casualty medal linked to one of the brave lads buried there. My dear daughter finally achieved that goal for me one Christmas and the collection has grown a bit since then.

In all I now have:

A plaque to Pte. Sidney Herbert HARRIS (24259, 4th. Bn., Grenadier Guards. +26/7/1917).

A 14/15 Star trio to Dvr. Percival David HARWOOD (L/8998, "A" Bty., 150th. Bde., Royal Field Artillery. +20/10/1917).

A 14/15 Star to Dvr. Frank WILKINSON (74217, "D" Bty. 75th. Bde., Royal Field Artillery. +2/9/1917).

I also have an early postcard of the cemetery.

 

Anyway, thanks to a contact medal dealer it looks like I have another one, a Victory Medal to:

 

Private Gilbert Welsby of the Welsh Guards 1st Battalion (formerly Grenadier Guards?). So far I know that:

He was born in Royton, the son of John and Alice Wlsby of Salford.

He married Annie Rhodes in Salford in 1916.(she is later recorded as Annie Reynolds, formerly Welsby, of 1 Gibbs St Salford).

Gilbert enlisted at Salford as an original member of this war-raised unit and served as a "Drummer".

He was first out in France on 17/8/1915.

He DOW on 27/7/17 (aged 24) and now lies in Canada Farm.

 

I think this is a particularly special medal as it is a low number in a specific war unit and a Drummer. I have ordered a copy of 'The History of the Welsh Guards' but wondered if any of you could tell me anything else about him at this stage please?

 

Thanks in advance.

 

Best regards.

Stephen. (Maldon).
 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Not a lot, but all I have on Gilbert at the moment.

 

welsby2.jpg

weslby.jpg

 

Edit; Click on images to enlarge.

Edited by shred
Link to comment
Share on other sites

2 hours ago, shred said:

Not a lot, but all I have on Gilbert at the moment.

 

welsby2.jpg

weslby.jpg

 

Edit; Click on images to enlarge.

Thanks shred - it is great to see his face.

Best regards.

Stephen.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

In addition to this excellent cutting from shred. It turns out that Gilbert is mentioned in the 18/8/1917 edition of the Salford Reporter (on page 3). So I emailed Salford Local History Library and received a very helpful reply explaining that the article confirms most of the details already known but adds that he was employed by Messrs. Smith, Nelson and Batty & Co., Manchester. His wife was living at 35 George Street, Salford at the time she received notification of his death. She also received a letter from Rev. G.M.S. Oldham who was the CofE chaplain to the forces. In that letter he informs her that “He was killed by a bomb dropped on the camp at night, and death was almost instantaneous, so that your husband suffered no pain.”

 

Regards.

Stephen (Maldon).

Link to comment
Share on other sites

11 hours ago, Loader said:

Time to check the War diary & see what it says about the incident. Very interesting circumstances.

Thanks Loader. I was thinking that the History of the Welsh Guards book that I have on order might help. it's a bit odd at the moment because he is the only Welsh Guards man in Canada Farm who died on that date, but there are lots of other soldiers buried there who did die on the 27/7/17. The official records indicate DOW, but the letter to his widow talks about a "bomb dropped on the camp" and how he was killed "instantaneous(ly)". I wonder if the bomb was on Canada Farm CCS?

Regards.

Stephen.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

War Diary 1st Battalion Welsh Guards.

27/7/1917 Forest Area Camp 5.

Coys.,finding no fatigues they all did parades on their own. The O C 2nd Hampshire Regiment and all his officers and most of his NCO's came to watch. We heard at 12.30 pm that the Bosch had been driven back from the Canal and that the First Guards Brigade were pushing over at 5 pm. The enemy bombarded our camp at about 10pm and killed 1man and wounded 8 others.

Draft of 60 men joined.

 

Bob

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks Bob - that's it then. I assume some of the wounded were taken to Canada Farm, along with Gilbert who was the only one to be buried there on that day?

Does anyone know where Forest Area Camp 5 was please?

Thanks.

Stephen.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The History of the Welsh Guards (C H Dudley Ward) page 152 states that "the new camp was in Forest Area near Woesten. It was shelled and bombed by aeroplanes".

It doesn't mention Dmr Welsby, but in the Nominal Roll (appendix I) he is noted as KiA. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

lovely - thanks very much TwoEssGee

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Just to back up what TwoEssGee has posted. War Diary 18/7/1917 Boesinghe Sector.. 19/7/1917. The relief was not complete till 1.30am this morning our casualties were 2 killed 14 wounded.On relief the Battalion marched back by Platoons to forest area Camp 5 quite close to DE Wippe Cabaret and about 2 miles S W of Woesten reaching there about 4am

 

Bob

Edited by little bob
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Brilliant little bob - thank you. We are really building the story now.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

If the men wounded in the incident did not die til after midnight that may account for the different date of those listed as DOW on the next day. Seems unlikely that bombs dropped on a camp would only kill/wound 1 man. Very interesting incident proves again that in that war there was no safe behind the lines area. I value the men of the support units even working on the port areas as  they too came under fire from air raids.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi Loader - thanks for this. Yes, I agree with you about behind the lines. Looking at Canada Farm, Gilbert is the only Welsh Guards casualty for the 27/7/17 and whilst there were others in July 1917, none are around that day.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Salford Local History Library have been so helpful. They are now sending me a contemporary copy of the newspaper cutting in relation to Gilbert's death.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Just had a fantastic reply from a currently serving LSgt at the RHQ Welsh Guards in London.

 

He explained that they had been the custodians of all Welsh Guards personnel files from their formation until the mid-80s. However, they have just been taken away to be stored with the rest of the Army’s files (APC Glasgow).

 

However, he was able to tell me that Pte. Welsby transferred from the 1st Battalion Grenadier Guards (as did quite a few hundred others) when the Regiment was formed at the end of February 1915.

 

The Battalion mounted the King’s Guard on 1 March 1915 and it is almost certain the Pte. Welsby would have been on this parade.

 

The Battalion then moved to White City to conduct training.

 

Pte. Welsby set sail for France and disembarked at Le Harvre on 18 Aug 15.

 

He would have served in a number of battles as the Welsh Guards were heavily involved.

 

They have a picture at RHQ of the Corps of Drums marching at the Somme. It is quite possible, although it cannot be authenticated, that Pte. Welsby is on the picture.

 

They also have a bugle at RHQ that was one of the original presented to the Regiment on its formation – numbered “15”. It may well have been the one issued to Pte. Welsby – although there are no records. The LSgt in question actually played that bugle at the Service of Commemoration for the Battle of the Somme in July last year at Westminster Abbey. He said it was "by far and away the best bugle I’ve ever played on".

 

This really helps build the picture of Pte. Welsby.

 

 

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi all - it would appear that Gilbert Welsby was previously 21238 in the Grenadier Guards.. Does anyone know what enlistment date that would give him pre-February 1915 please?

 

Thanks.

Stephen.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi,

 

Paul Nixon's ever helpful site says  this for GG enlistments in 1914 - 

 

20264 joined on 9th November 1914
21297 joined 8th December 1914

 

Steve Y

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thank you Steve Y. That's really helpful. So like that, Gilbert was in the Grenadier Guards for just a couple of months before transferring to the newly formed Welsh Guards. Fascinating.

Regards.

Stephen.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

He's named on one of the memorial tablets in St. John's Catholic Cathedral, Salford.

 

73219335-2492-42c3-bc27-4ce9a6425208.jpg

 

IMG_0013.jpg

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thank you very much for this information Berenice.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Just discovered that Gilbert's widow, Annie, was paid a Gratuity of £9-15s.-4d. on 7/1/1918 and a further £15 on 21/11/1919.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 4 months later...

Got a reprint copy of the 'History of the Welsh Guards' (C.H. Dudley Ward 1920) for Christmas. Gilbert Welsby is listed in Appendix 1 - the Nominal Roll of those with the 1st Battalion. For the period when he died (27th July 1917) it says; "The new camp was in the Forest Area near Woesten. It was shelled and bombed by aeroplanes".

regards.

Stephen. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...