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Bernard Newman


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Jeff Malter

I am writing the biography of Bernard Charles Newman (1897 - 1968. He served as a soldier throughout WWI. He is the author of 140 books many of which are about war and espionage. He writes about being a spy himself although he has also denied this. If anyone has any information about his activities during WWI I would very much appreciate receiving this information with citations to any literature other than what Newman wrote himself. Please see the attached pdf about the life of Bernard Newman. Thank you.

Bernard Newman ICHC article by Jeff Malter.pdf

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Matlock1418

Hi Jeff,

Welcome to GWF

It would be great if you could please tell us a bit more about what you know about Bernard Newman's WW1 service - always good to get an understanding of your previous research and its findings.

Your article includes this:

780830465_NEWMANBernardCharles.png.6574c370e1b6b59c985c4ae7d6210e38.png

Source: Jeff Malter's above attached article.

Not least it would be good to learn details of what you believe was his military rank(s), unit(s) and number(s) etc., as always a helpful start.

And the source(s) / evidence for the above.

Looking forward to hearing more from you.

:-) M

 

 

 

 

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His MIC shows him as a Private and then Staff Sergeant with the number S4/060960 serving with the ASC. The number indicates service section fourth army. His MIC has an interesting addendum from 1921 suggesting he may have been entitled to an emblem with his medals having been mentioned in dispatches

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He was MID in Haig's dispatch of 16th March 1919 published in the London Gazette of 10th July 1919. He is shown as serving with 21st Division train.

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Matlock1418

According to Medal Index Cards it certainly appears that there are likely to be seven Bernard Newman who served overseas and who got medals - and it currently appears only one Bernard C[harles] Newman, but ... ???

= Bernard C Newman  Army Service Corps    S4/060960 - as has been identified above

= Bernard Leigh Newman  Royal Engineers         

= Bernard Robert Newman  Duke of Cambridge's Own (Middlesex) Regiment, Midsex R         

= Bernard J Newman  Labour Corps    436982    

= Bernard Newman  Cheshire Regiment    3702, 52745    

= Bernard Newman  London Regiment, Labour Corps    4281, 502219    

= Bernard Newman  Royal Engineers    193890, WR/258962

Unfortunately this ASC soldier's likely service appears to potentially somewhat conflict with the description of "being assigned to a Rifle Regiment" and "fought in many of the major battles".

Of course this description of his service may perhaps be a bit inadvertently erroneous - and I feel sure GWF would like to help resolve the situation.

But it would be really good to hear back from the original poster [Jeff] lest we potentially go off astray.

:-) M

Edited by Matlock1418
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H @Jeff Malter and welcome to the forum.

 

You state he lost a brother (and an uncle), in the Great War. The 1901 and 1911 Census of England & Wales both show all his male siblings as born Ibstock. I assume the brother is the 28 year old Corporal 13120 Arthur Betteridge Newman, 4th Squadron, Royal Flying Corps, who died on the 18th August 1917 and is buried at Lissenjthoek Military Cemetery.

The additional family information shown is that he was the "Son of William Betteridge Newman and Annie Newman, of "Hazeldene," Ibstock, Leicester."

https://www.cwgc.org/find-records/find-war-dead/casualty-details/146411/ARTHUR BETTERIDGE NEWMAN/

 

Airman died in the Great War records that he was Accidentally Killed while serving with 4 Squadron and was a native of Ibstock.

 

There is a report in the edition of the Leicester Chronicle dated 1st September 1917 of the death of Arthur, but no mention of Bernard.

1000586931_LeicesterChronicle01September1917p2ArthurNewmansourcedFMP.jpg.9f0018496409672810ee8ab13505e5f2.jpg

(Image courtesy FindMyPast)

 

Two reasons for looking.

1) If Arthur had been serving in the Army, (and his service records survived the fire), then next of kin details at the time of enlistment could include unit details for other family members who were serving.  It will also have address details - on the 1911 Census the family are living at Coventry House, 103 High Street, Ibstock so at some point they moved to Hazeldene. (I'll come back to this in 2). Additionally in the case of those who died, Army form W.5080 was sent out post-war to the nominated next of kin asking for details of family members who were still alive, and for siblings it asks for their ages and addresses.  Those still serving will often be shown with an address of c\o a Regiment or Squadron or Ship, etc. Although the Royal Flying Corps was part of the Army, I believe all it's paperwork, including for those already deceased, was handed over to the RAF. So hopefully one of the forum members with more expert knowledge in this area will be able to tell us if such information sources still exists squirrelled away somewhere.

 

2) As he didn't marry until several years after the Great War, it's likely that as the war came to an end he still regarded his parents address as his home, and it's for that address he would have been registered as an Absent Voter. The 1918 Representation of the People Act is nowadays mainly remembered for giving the vote to some women, but its main impact at the time was doing away with property requirements by extending the vote to all males over 21, and over 18 if they were serving. It looks like the birth of Bernard Charles Newman was registered with the Civil Authorities in the Market Bosworth District of Leicestershire in the April to June quarter, (Q2), of 1897, so he would have been 21 , (or near enough!), by the time the 1918 Absent Voter List was being pulled together in the late spring of 1918. The first hurdle with the AVL is usually identifying the likely area where someone might have registered - if they were interested in voting - and then looking to see if you can track down the relevant document. The 1918 AVL was pulled together in a hurry and the information such as unit and service number were usually sourced from other household members. The 1919 AVL involved a greater level of rigour, with checks through the relevant branches of the Armed Forces.

For more on how this can help you see - https://www.longlongtrail.co.uk/soldiers/how-to-research-a-soldier/finding-soldiers-through-the-1918-absent-voters-lists/

 

Hope that helps,

Peter

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corisande

On Matlock's list of possibls, if one discounts the men with "wrong" second Christian name, then apart from the ASC man, there are only 3  men left

 

One is in RE and therefore not in the infantry

One , Bernard #4281, has a Pension Card that shows him as in fact Bernard Frank

And the remaining Bernard, in Cheshire Regt, did not qualify for a Star

 

So back to the drawing board!

 

The ASC Bernard does in fact have a page on Lives of the First World War that has a photo nad the news tht he was born in Isstock and the ASC Staff Sgt  S4/060960. I have no idea on the accuracy of that, but it indicates that somebody thought so! Is this stuff on IWM verified in any way?

 

As the OP has not been kind enouh to return to the forum to give their input, it is difficult to know where he got his info on the Infantry Regt

 

So we are in a bit of a limbo and the area of supposition. But the ASC man seems the most likely man at the moment

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corisande

A long obit in the Harrow Observer  in Feb 1968 - click for FmP - says virtually nothing about his WW1 service

 

"He served with the BEF in the First World War from 1915 to 1918"

 

There is also  an obit in The Times which says nothing more about WW1, but the fact he has an obit there does indicate that he was "famous"

 

If anyone has access to Who's Who, he is meant to have a long entry there which may or may not be infomative

Edited by corisande
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Matlock1418
37 minutes ago, corisande said:

The ASC Bernard does in fact have a page on Lives of the First World War ... ... ... Is this stuff on IWM verified in any way?

No!

 

38 minutes ago, corisande said:

As the OP has not been kind enouh to return to the forum to give their input,

Steady tiger! - Only been 12 hours since he posted!!

But I feel sure it would be useful.

:-)M

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corisande

Newman co-authored a book "Tunnellers"

 

There is a memoir referred to  in a Forum Thread by @Simon Jones . I assume the OP has read this memoir

He was an ASC Staff Sergeant with the 21st Divisional Train and received a MiD. His memoirs ‘Speaking From Memory’ contain some details about this and reveal just how much of a charlatan, sorry I’ve just got in after having a few beers, imaginative writer he was as he later posed as an expert on espionage.

 

This is the whole thread  here

 

Edited by corisande
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Dai Bach y Sowldiwr
11 hours ago, ajsmith said:

The number indicates service section fourth army.

It may at the time of allocation indicated assignment to the Fourth of the New Armies, not the British Fourth Army.

It can't be used of itself (as far as we can figure out today) to establish deployment to any ASC Company in any division, corps or army.

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Matlock1418
11 minutes ago, corisande said:

There is a memoir referred to  in a Forum Thread by @Simon Jones .

Interesting find.

[Now why does searching GWF frequently seem to slip off many a member's radar? Like mine!! ;-/]

:-) M

Edited by Matlock1418
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Matlock1418

 

 

9 hours ago, PRC said:

If Arthur had been serving in the Army, (and his service records survived the fire), then next of kin details at the time of enlistment could include unit details for other family members who were serving.  It will also have address details - on the 1911 Census the family are living at Coventry House, 103 High Street, Ibstock so at some point they moved to Hazeldene. (I'll come back to this in 2). Additionally in the case of those who died, Army form W.5080 was sent out post-war to the nominated next of kin asking for details of family members who were still alive, and for siblings it asks for their ages and addresses.  Those still serving will often be shown with an address of c\o a Regiment or Squadron or Ship, etc. Although the Royal Flying Corps was part of the Army, I believe all it's paperwork, including for those already deceased, was handed over to the RAF. So hopefully one of the forum members with more expert knowledge in this area will be able to tell us if such information sources still exists squirrelled away somewhere.

Brother, Arthur, was RFC 13210

I couldn't find an Army SR or content such as a W.5080 [Edit: Just a single page/single line on place & cause of death on FMP]

And I'm even less skilled with potential RAF records. [Edit: Just a very plain Airman's record on FMP (as ARN) and a Casualty card at RAF Museum StoryVault]

:-)M

Edited by Matlock1418
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corisande

Bernard Newman has a Wikipedia entry that FWIW says of his WW1 service

 

World War I

Some of his early fiction novels, particularly Spy, were written in the first personwith himself as the main character. That has led to allegations that he was a spy. Newman lied about his age to enlist at 17 and clarified in his 1960 autobiography, Speaking From Memory, that his war service was routine and unremarkable and that his novels were publicised in that way to achieve sales at the suggestion of his publisher, Gollancz. Correspondence between Newman and the military historian B. H. Liddell Hart held in the Liddell Hart Centre for Military Archives at King's College London, confirm Gollancz's marketing tactics by asking Newman to 'disappear' for two weeks during the book's initial presentation to the public.

On its publication, Spy attracted considerable attention in the press. Newman had written the novel in such a way that it appeared to be autobiographical although there were several 'facts' that could easily be checked. Relishing the free publicity, (Spy ran to 12 editions) Newman eventually said in an interview:

I am not a spy, I have never been a spy and I don't suppose I shall ever become one. I have never met the King, the Kaiser, Ludendorff, Hindenberg or Lloyd George. I did not win the DSO nor was I as much as half an inch behind the German lines during the war. I am trying to devise a new kind of thriller. I believe I have succeeded. I quite agree that there are plenty of people who might believe it, but I believe the intelligent reader will treat t book exactly as he would a good detective story.

That statement was widely reported in the press worldwide, but even his 1968 New York Times obituary repeated the fiction. Internet articles can still be found stating his 'espionage activities' as fact.

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Jeff Malter

Thursday 10 June 2021. To members of the GWF, thank you ever so much for responding so quickly and with great knowledge about my request for information about Bernard Charles Newman. This is very much appreciated. I am amazed at the information that all of you have and bring to the forum. As I am a new member of the GWF these replies give me hope for obtaining new details about his life. However I would like to point out that if you read the attached biography of Newman to my original post, I am reasonably familiar with his life. It is probably not necessary to repeat what all of you have contributed. In fact I am familiar with all of this information as well as the sources quoted or that were cut and pasted. Having subscribed to various internet resources in searching for further information about Newman I am impressed that those who have replied are quite knowledgeable as well. However I joined this Forum hoping to gain additional facts on his life and in particular his activities during WWI. Perhaps over time new information will surface. What I am trying to do is verify what Newman wrote about himself in his autobiography Speaking From Memory., published in 1960. The various replies I have had from Kew and other sources of information is that his WWI records were probably destroyed during the bombing of London during WWII.

 

Here is some information about Bernard Newman that may be new to anyone on this Forum. I am assuming that most people have not read his autobiography, Speaking From Memory, now long out of print. Newman was a performer.  He wrote poems, plays, songs, operettas and much similar material. He wrote stories and other material for the WWI magazine Blighty. This publication was distributed to soldiers throughout the war. Though now out of print in its original form, it evolved into several different magazines that were published principally for men. He founded a group, The Fanatics, that performed in the Greater London area as well as throughout the United Kingdom. He sang and did other musical offerings in Europe as well,  including work as a performer in Paris, Berlin and other capital cities. His very first book, published in 1926, was a work about how to perform on stage. Newman's musical creativity stood him well following the War.  He became one of, if not The leading lecturer, in the years before WWII, during the Second World War and afterwords. In fact the British government hired Newman to propagandise during WWII. He was sent to the United States and Canada to promote the British effort to defeat the enemies during the war. Upon his return  he was sent around all four countries of the UK to explain to troops and the general public what the Americans are doing for the war effort. He was sent to France to boost the morale of both British and French troops. Without his experience as a performer he may not have been able to achieve all that he did for the British war effort.

 

What I am in search of, so far unsuccessfully, are the actual records of what he did during WWI from a source that is not himself and other than those mentioned by others on this Forum. That Newman had a creative mind and wrote many books, both fiction and non-fiction, about WWI, WWII, the years between the wars and after the second world war, is well known. In his autobiography and in other writings he states that he was engaged in activities that could be considered as spying or espionage and that he has also denied he was engaged in such activities. I could write a great deal about Bernard Newman that is not included in the 10 page paper attached to my original posting. However as I am still doing research most of this additional information about Newman's life will await the publication of my biography.  So stay tuned...If anyone wants to communicate directly with me by email: chateaudoex2007@btinternet.com. I have posted several articles on the internet that can be easily found by Googling  Jeff Malter and Bernard Newman. It would be of great value to my research and to eventual additional publications if anyone can offer new information and/or sources for direct knowledge of what Bernard Charles Newman actually did during WWI. His activities after the war are reasonably well documented. I am happy to answer any queries about Newman either on this forum or by email. Thank you all for replying in such a professional, prompt and knowledgeable manner. I look forward to receiving more information about Bernard Newman.

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Jeff,

Thank you for your reply.

We do understand that you are seeking [new] information about a storyteller that has not come from the storyteller himself [and potentially from his fertile mind!]

What I think is really necessary is firstly to be absolutely sure we are on the trail of the right soldier in order that we can cross-check his account.

That said given the likely scarcity of his autobiography, Speaking from Memory means that most of us here on GWF also don't know exactly what he said about his wartime service - His unit, rank, places, activities etc.

After all, if we have latched onto the right soldier then the ASC [which was essentially a logistics corps] was not a "Rifle Regiment" and wouldn't usually/normally be involved in much "fighting" - which might perhaps rather suggest the creativity you have mentioned.

Or maybe it is the way it has been so far presented.  Perhaps he did first enlist in a rifle regiment but then get transferred to the ASC. ???

The fact that Newman's service record seems to no longer exist doesn't mean that GWF can't help with a thorough cross-examination of his statements and potentially help you along the way.  Perhaps considering possible fact and potential fiction and hopefully finding new source material/information for you.

But I think we need to start from the beginning and the basics.

To have Newman's account to hand would however be very helpful I feel sure - Is it perhaps available to read online?

Or can you perhaps please assist with the key detailed essentials from his book [In/set in his words]?

:-) M

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Thursday 10 June 2021

 

Thank you to anyone replying to my request for information about Bernard Charles Newman. He enlisted in 1914 at the age of 17. His identification number is: ASC Staff Sgt. S4/060960. He was in the 21st Division Artillery 1914 -1919. I am attaching to this document a pdf of a chapter in his autobiography, Speaking From Memory, 1960. This is basically what he wrote about his experiences in WWI. The previous information written on 8, 9 and 10 June 2021 on the GWF is information that I already have. Please contact me via the GWF  if you have further information or want to ask me any questions about Newman. I am well aware that there were other Bernard Newmans who fought in WWI. Just as I am aware of hundreds of other Bernard Newmans. Perhaps the most famous "other" of the many Bernard Newmans was the Hollywood movie dress designer.

 

Thank you in advance for your interest in helping me find out more about Bernard Newman of Ibstock.

Scan Speaking From Memory by Bernard Newman.pdf

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4 hours ago, Jeff Malter said:

I am attaching to this document a pdf of a chapter in his autobiography, Speaking From Memory, 1960. This is basically what he wrote about his experiences in WWI.

Thank you for attaching this helpful abstract.

To me it appears to be a tour de force of a storyteller - from the Acknowledgements and into Chapter 3.

Leaves so much to the imagination of the reader - and if they happen to get it wrong then whose fault is it?

To begin with he cites Capt. B H Liddlell Hart and infers that he has checked the text and has agreed with it.

Then come few facts that can be checked.

Perhaps the only one I have spotted so far is the mention of a MID, and it's only relatively easy to check it today when there is internet access - so much harder for the majority in 1960

Assuming we have the right soldier https://www.thegazette.co.uk/London/issue/31446/supplement/8766  Has anyone else found another B Newman with a MiD?

OK. there was a S/Sgt BC Newman S4/060960 of the 21st Divisional Train but this is not the Artillery as he might lead the readers' minds to presume.  To my mind ASC is not Artillery.

As for his ability to get himself posted to the 21st Div Artillery/Train I would speculate is an exaggeration about his capability.

And then into intimations of combat - which is rarely the role of the ASC

And as for his promotion - I cannot comment.

And the rest, well ... ???

So little to go on = No wonder you are seeking sources other than Newman.

:-) M

Edited by Matlock1418
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