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Nick1914

1st Royal Welsh Fusiliers - Zandvoorde Ridge Oct 30th 1914

18 posts in this topic

Dear All, just read an interesting new book on Lord Hugh Grosvenor and the 1st Life Guards "Last Stand at Zandvoorde 1914".  The book is published by Pen & Sword and the author is Mike McBride.

 

While the 1st LG's story and participants is now well documented the important RWF's involvement is less so.  I have also found a very interesting new(Oct 2014) memorial website..... In the Footsteps.com dedicated to the RWF soldiers but despite some War Diary background I have had a VERY frustrating week trying to find anything much about the Non-Fatal officer casualties of the action.  This is not helped by the fact that quite a number appear to be Special Reserve officers drafted in as replacement for the significant battalion losses earlier in October 1914.

 

One prominent survivor and subsequent PoW was 2nd Lt Edmond Wodehouse(I believe incorrectly spelt Woodhouse in a number of sources.  However, I have checked Harts 1914 Army List & the Sandhurst Register and I am pretty sure it is Wodehouse a class of Sept '13 Sandhurst graduate aged 20 at the time of the action.

 

I have also found his name in the ICRC PoW files......a very difficult source at first but one I am very familiar with but on the rest I drew blanks!

 

Any help on the following such as: full names, backgrounds/schools, bios DofB, deaths, commission dates etc really gratefully received! Here's what I have & hopefully we can bring forward some forgotten names from possibly one of the most important defensive actions of 1st Ypres.

 

1) Captain Burke/D J D - 3rd DCLI acting staff captain.......wounded 29th or 30 Oct

 

2) Captain E E Barrow??(not clear in WD)   - 3rd DCLI - PoW

 

3) Lt Edye/Charles Vivian de Grete....sometimes mistakenly? shown as Edge in reports but confirmed as Edye in Army List and kia. Supernumerary in DCLI

 

4) 2nd Lt Prynn/N - 3rd DCLI - comm'd May '14 (probationary) - PoW

 

5) Lt Poole/Bryan Cudworth Halsted - 1st RWF - Regular/Sandhurst 1912 - PoW - Strohen/Crefeld/ interned Holland 1918, repatriated Nov '18

 

6) 2nd Lt  Evans/Arthur M G - 1st RWF - Regular/Sandhurst 1914 - new commission- PoW - Holzminden -interned Holland 1918, repatriated Jan '19

 

7) Captain Disney/J H -  3rd Essex - PoW

 

For the record I already have pretty good info on the following kia on 30th: Cadogan, Dooner, Vincent and Egerton, plus Hugh Given Robertson RAMC a PoW but exchanged as with most MO's in July '15.

 

Three other names from casualties 1 week earlier in October also presenting difficulties:

 

 Lts R E Hudson,  E Proctor,  S Williams

 

I hope other members would agree this is an action very much worth highlighting.

 

Best Regards, Nick

 

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ID: 2   Posted (edited)

Nick

As I am sure you are aware, documentation on the destruction on October 30th is extremely limited. Not sure if this any help, but a number of bns in 7th Inf Div received officers promoted from the ranks of the Artists Riflesto replace heavy junior officer losses. I'm not sure if these postings promotions were even mentioned in War diaries, adjutants to were thin on the ground and I am not sue if the promotions were even gazetted. The last  three you mention may be amongst these. 

 

As am sure you have noticed, the book to which you refer is absolutely full of inaccuracies, not least attributing the Worcesters Action at Gheluvelt to the 30th October. It also lacks a single note or reference. It is not a volume I would ever care to quote from.

 

(I have done a great deal of research on the 7th Inf Div at Ypres and the RWF in particular for an unfinished book. A relative of mine died on October 31st with RWF. Because of huge losses participants stories are very thin on the ground and make it virtually impossible to write a worthwhile narrative - hence the unfinished book).

 

Equally, as again I am sure you are aware, Cadogan's grandson who also commanded a BM of the RWF, as did his father, ha published a biography of his grandfather. 

 

Hope this of some help. 

Regards

David

Edited by David Filsell

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Dear David, many thanks for your very thoughtful comments. My main interest is overall officer casualties in 1914 and my database, compiled over many years, is designed to "throw-up" such inconsistencies.  Hence there are alarming gaps in understanding the RWF casualties down to the level that we don't actually seem to know even their full names or backgrounds .  At the moment the Wodehouse testimony seems to be to one of a limited number of primary sources on the action of 30th Oct due to the very high casualties. Getting to grips with individuals might just throw-up some insights?  I had distant hopes for officer PoW repatriation reports in the NA WO/161/ series but no luck so far.  I have in the past purchased quite a number of these records and been disappointed with the content.  However, even one capture report would be better than what we have today.  A deep dive into the ICRC dbase has also come up with nothing. As there were around 6 officer PoW survivors mentioned above....if one could just trace their relatives then perhaps there might be more info out there in diaries?  I totally sympathize in your difficulties in getting more info to "pull the full Zandvoorde Ridge sorry together".

 

With regard to your Artists Rifles suggestion I have a specific list of the officer casualties emanating from this commission route as I also do with commission from the ranks/field commissions.  I'll check but doubt this on this occasion as my dbase is designed to make such links.

 

Finally David, I hope this encourages you to finish your manuscript I will send you a PM and try and share some thoughts and what I have to help.

 

One other fact that members who are experts in official Battle Classification may be able to help with is: how is the action at Zandvoorde Ridge classified?  I originally(for my system) grouped it in with The Battle of Gheuvelt due to the overlapping dates and geographic proximity but now see it as quite distinct and falling under the broader 1st Ypres.  Any thoughts?

 

So far the above officers see to have escaped the normally diligent GWF members forensic efforts but I still remain hopeful!

 

Best, Nick

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Nick, I am sssuming that you have the battalion's fragmentary War Diary in mss covering those dreadful days?

 

Among the other mysteries is who wrote it and when? Feel free to PM me.

 

If your main interest is officer casualties of 1914 a diligent SEARCH will quickly find the forensic work of member QGE, Martin.  The research is truly awe-inspiring in scope, and the results heart-breaking to contemplate.

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Many thanks Muerrisch, yes I have indeed read the WD and who wrote it is a very good question!

 

I am indeed very familiar with QME Martin's work and have had a number of extremely useful discussions with him.  Our approaches are, however,  a little different if I recall correctly.  Martin collates all officers by regiment/bn as well as reinforcement data and casualty dates. He uses I think about 4-5 primary sources such as WD, Medal rolls, battalion histories etc. My system collates just casualty information but from hundreds of sources including books, diaries as well as WD, CWGC, ICRC, but also has many more inputs..... DoB, death, marriage status/date, numbers of children when kia/wounded, casualty status/type, dates, schools/university attended, commission dates, commission routes, ranks, psc/retired, ORBATS(enabling formation linkage at battalion, division, corps levels), family ties to regiment, family background(army aristo, business, clergy), types of casualty/where took place/wound type, PoW camps, repatriation route/dates, battle classification(again allowing links between units) etc plus much much more.  The levels of data population vary from nearly 100% in many Guards battalions to less in lesser known units.  Time-series plots of the data can show for example the build up of casualties over 1914, or casualty by battalion, rank, service arm or anything one chooses. Overall 4500+ names, probably 300-400MB file, 7 years work.  The most important thing is how one's data is classified and then to use database manipulation tools via grouping/filtering/sorting to throw-up new insights, relationships or often simply inconsistencies. Hence my questions regarding the above Zandvoorde officers......a big knowldge gap.  This is all a very long way from traditional historical research.......on a few occasions I have even been able to give Martin new information he didn't have!

 

Best regards & please let me know if there is anything I can help you with.  Nick

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ID: 6   Posted (edited)

Nick, 

 

With six PoW officers I'd try and get copies of their files held at Kew (if they exist and if they are in the public domain), and haven't been weeded, their accounts of capture will likely give you an inkling of what happened though details are sometimes contradictory. Some officers who were missing contain 'last seen' statements - some a few lines, some with more detail.

 

The following may be a starter for looking up:

 

Norman Prynn - http://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/r/C1074074

Poole - http://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/r/C1062292

 

The CAB 45 records in the official histories paperwork may include a letter or account but will take plenty of searching for. I fear that David had likely looked in these sources and could confirm any dearths of information.

 

The Artists' Rifles did not provide officer candidates to the 7th Division until November according to their history though I wouldn't be surprised if there were gaps in the records.

 

I find such actions very frustrating but with time small new sources or snippets of information do come to light. 

 

Kind regards

 

Colin

Edited by Colin W Taylor

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ID: 7   Posted (edited)

Hi Nick,

 

I have some information relating to Norman Prynn from some research which I carried out following the purchase of his 1914 Star Trio in 2009.  He was educated at Plymouth College and the RMC Sandhurst.  I do not think that he was POW because he is not listed in the book.

 

2/Lt:  3rd DCLI, 13/5/14;  To France 5/10/14 att'd 1st RWF;  Wounded 1st Ypres 31/10/14;  Invalided home 3/11/14;  Resigned his commission 17/2/15 in order to take a regular commission via RMC Sandhurst;  2/Lt:  1st Bn Hampshire Regt., 15/6/15;  Wounded August 1916;  Captain 8/3/18;  Kia 28/3/18,  Age 23.  Commemorated on the Arras Memorial.  Son of Mr and Mrs F.Prynn, of 'Woodbine', Seymour Rd., Plymouth.

 

I also have a couple of photos of him--one from a group photo taken at Sandhurst and one with the Hampshires. He certainly had an unusual military career.

 

I hope that this is of some use,

 

Robert

Edited by Old Owl

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Dear Colin & Robert, really valuable input and together we now have just a little bit more on the RWF story.  Mistakenly I had Norman Prynn as a PoW and clearly he was just wounded and evacuated to the UK.  A brave man injured at 19/20, again on the Somme in 1916 and dead by aged 23 in March 1918.

 

Robert, I picked up on your very useful GWF threads "Old Owl - 14th Sept 2009" which gave splendid details of N Prynn and great photos from the Plymouth College Cadet force pre-war.  A most interesting story especially his resignation from the Special Reserve and re-entry to Sandhurst as a Regular on the short war-time course.

 

Colin, many thanks for the forename it opened up my search with very positive results.  I agree on going to Kew.  I lived just 8 miles away for 30 years and now am 200+!  However, it may be the only way.

 

Excuse my ignorance but what are CAB 45 records?

 

In the meantime if we can find more on the other officers a fuller story on Zandvoorde can be put in the public domain.

 

Best, Nick

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ID: 9   Posted (edited)

CAB 45 contains correspondence to and from the Official Historian in regard to the writing and checking of the Official Histories. They have been weeded I am sure, as surprising as what the files contain seems to me material I would have thought they would contain. Nevertheless they are fascinating.

Edited by David Filsell

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Dear Colin, many thanks there is always something new to learn.

 

Earlier you spoke about the Artists Rifles and commissions during 1914.  I have extracted from my database a list of Artist Rifles names and created a small PDF(attached)....nothing unfortunately for the RWF.  It should be readable if you enlarge using "gestures' or similar techniques.

 

Best, Nick

 

 

 

Artist Rifles.tiff.pdf

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I have a copy of 'The Road to Armageddon'  - The life and letters of Lt Col Henry Cadogan that I fortunately found in a London charity shop a few years back and which was edited by his eldest grandson and referred to earlier in this thread. 

 

It does have some information on a couple of names mentioned by the OP when describing the events of 26th October:

 

2nd Lt E Proctor had arrived that morning with a draft of 90 NCOs and men and was wounded that day within 12 hours of arriving.

RSM Shem Williams also wounded on 26th. RSM 1RWF 1912-14. Commissioned 31 Jan 1915. 

 

Hope this helps. 

 

 

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.....and according to my 1915 Quarterly Army List it was probably 2nd Lt Eric Proctor, born 27th June 1895 and commissioned 2nd Lt RWF on 1st October 1914. 

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ID: 13   Posted (edited)

Lt. R. E. Hudson was R. E. Hindson - Richard Eldred Hindson

Gazetted 2nd Lt. 20 September 1911

 https://www.thegazette.co.uk/London/issue/28532/page/6882

and promoted to Lt. on 18 December 1912

https://www.thegazette.co.uk/London/issue/28688/page/962

 

Edit to add: The date of R.S.M. Shem Williams' commission was 10 October 1914.

https://www.thegazette.co.uk/London/issue/28932/page/8042

and Eric Proctor on 1 October 1914 as in mrfrank's post #12

https://www.thegazette.co.uk/London/issue/28920/supplement/7778

Edited by HarryBrook

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ID: 14   Posted (edited)

I.R.C. records exist for Capt. R E. Hindson

 

Hindson, R. E., P.O.W. record.JPG

 

Edit to add: Also reported in the Liverpool Echo 31 October 1914, and in a list of officer P.O.Ws. on 17 November 1914

 

 

Hindso, R. E., Liverpool Echo 31.10.1914.JPG

Hindson, R. E., Liverpool Echo 17.11.1914.JPG

Edited by HarryBrook

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10 hours ago, Nick1914 said:

Dear Colin & Robert, really valuable input and together we now have just a little bit more on the RWF story.  Mistakenly I had Norman Prynn as a PoW and clearly he was just wounded and evacuated to the UK.  A brave man injured at 19/20, again on the Somme in 1916 and dead by aged 23 in March 1918.

 

Robert, I picked up on your very useful GWF threads "Old Owl - 14th Sept 2009" which gave splendid details of N Prynn and great photos from the Plymouth College Cadet force pre-war.  A most interesting story especially his resignation from the Special Reserve and re-entry to Sandhurst as a Regular on the short war-time course.

 

Colin, many thanks for the forename it opened up my search with very positive results.  I agree on going to Kew.  I lived just 8 miles away for 30 years and now am 200+!  However, it may be the only way.

 

Excuse my ignorance but what are CAB 45 records?

 

In the meantime if we can find more on the other officers a fuller story on Zandvoorde can be put in the public domain.

 

Best, Nick

Hi Nick,

 

The photo you refer to is from a group taken whist he was a cadet at the RMC Sandhurst in 1915.

 

Cheers,  Robert

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The Road to Armageddon is useful but it is rather patchy regarding accuracy.

 

Anyone wishing to use it as a source is invited to PM me regarding specifics.

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Dear All, many thanks for all this and specifically the direct links....this really makes things much more productive for me.  I've now corrected a few incorrect names etc. Shows that virtually all the PoWs were also wounded but hardly surprising given their tenacity.  Also shows me the benefits of searches directly in the London Gazette as opposed to via web-based ones which have not necessarily picked up all these individuals.  I can now hopefully find a little more about these officers having their full names.  

 

......this week already much more productive than last.....thanks again to GWF members.

 

Nick

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Great result.

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