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The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

Remembered Today:

Second Lieutenants Livesey, Pittaway and Symmonds


Mark Hone

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Perhaps a Pal can shed further light on this unusual obituary from the 'Bury Times' 9th June 1917:

"Second Lieutenant W.M. LIVESEY: 'While sailing in Lough Lee, Ireland, on Saturday afternoon, Second Lieutenants J.E. Pittaway of Ashley Park, Belfast, W.M. Livesey of Urmston, Manchester and A.G. Symmonds of Congresbury, Somerset, were caught by a heavy squall , with drenching rain, and their boat was capsized. They clung to the upturned boat , and being excellent swimmers hoped to reach the shore , about two miles away. Lieutenant Symmonds was the first to release his hold , sinking in about twenty minutes from exhaustion. Some ten minutes afterwards Second Lieutenant Livesey declared he was beaten , and sank, after wishing good bye and good luck to Mr. Pittaway. For nearly three hours the latter held on to the boat, and eventually the vessel drifted into Hare Island and Mr Pittaway was thrown on the shore thoroughly exhausted. Second Liutenant Livesey , who was in the RFA, leaves a widow and child, who reside at Urmston in Manchester. He was the son of Mr and Mrs Livesey of Ferndale, Mosley Avenue, Bury. He was 28 years of age and educated at the Ardwick Central school. Before the war he was an inspector on the 'Manchester Guardian' Insurance staff and had been in the Manchester Territorials for five years. He went out to France in October 1914, where he served for two years. He has a brother, Pte Harold S. Livesey , in the Westmoreland and Cumberland Yeomanry'"

Neither of the two officers drowned in the accident appear to be commemorated by CWGC and they are not on Officers Died. Does anyone know where they are buried (if indeed the bodies were recovered) or anything more about the incident or the three men? Pittaway seems to have survived the war. I know accidents happen all the time but it seems very rough that poor Livesey survived two years on the Western Front only to be drowned on what was presumably a jolly boat trip with his pals.

post-120-1178381821.jpg

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Mark,

Have you seen this site. I found it fascinating (you may already be very familiar with it, sorry if you are).. Such a shame about those two men.

Susan

Grave Website

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Thanks Susan, no sign of them I'm afraid, the problem being that they are not commemorated by CWGC. Presumably their accident was not held to have been in the line of duty, although plenty of people gained CWGC recognition who died of disease and I have researched numerous men who died in military-related accidents and are recorded on CWGC and SDGW.

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Superb stuff.

Susan.

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Whoops-taking the Bury Times spelling too much on trust! I should have learned better over the last couple of years of dealing with their bizarre variations. Must admit the Livsey one didn't occur to me as I assumed that 'Livesey' was the normal spelling and I hadn't come across that version. Thanks, Mick.

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No probs I enjoy the hunt...i spend much of my working day tracing individuals from dodgy demographics.

Mick

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Simmonds is an interesting bloke-originally Friends' Ambulance Service 1914-16, then transferred to the army, and was still only 20 when he died. There's an untold story there...

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Thanks Mark. Very interesting. I wonder if Lt JE Pittaway is a distant relative of mine. I will have to look back through the family tree to find out.

Cheers

Andrew

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