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21st Battalion KRRC - the original Yeomen

KRRC Yeoman Rifles

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#1 Liz in Eastbourne

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Posted 26 August 2010 - 09:53 AM

I've recently found the story of Rifleman John Thomas Hardcastle, 21st Battalion KRRC - one of the original yeomen of the Yeoman Rifles. He died soon after being taken POW in the Battle of the Dunes on 10 July 1917 (Nieuport Bains) - he'd been posted to the 2nd battalion KRRC six months after being wounded at Flers with his original battalion, which he had joined in November 1915 when it was founded as part of the New Army. He's not actually a relative, but I had always heard of him - without until recently knowing his name or any details - as the man my great-aunt Annie Chester should have married, but lost in the Great War. His family were married into both sides of my mother's family and they were all farmers from near Ripon in Yorkshire.

I've had a lot of help already from Mark Brockway of this forum who sent me a fascinating extract from the KRRC Chronicle for 1916 about how the Earl of Feversham (later killed at Flers) raised the battalion at his family home, Duncombe Park, Helmsley,Yorkshire. Mark also referred me to the other forum threads on this battalion, including the one on the Crossley twins who died together on 30 June 1916 - I think Hardcastle must have been in A company with them as they were all from the North Riding (EDIT - wrong, see below). Anthony Eden also as a very young officer recruited men from his family's home area in Durham as part of this battalion - I think that would be C company. (Please correct any errors for me!)

After 7th October on the Somme according to the KRRC Chronicle 'the Yeoman battalion ceased to exist. Of its original officers and men few were left, and it was completed by drafts composed principally of Londoners.' Hardcastle missed that day because he was still recovering from wounds received at Flers on 15th September.

I would very much like to hear about any other men from that original recruitment exercise in November 1915. Most of them must have been killed on the Somme, while a few perhaps transferred to other battalions, like Hardcastle, after being wounded. Who might he have known during that year (not even a year, but it must have been a very intense period in their lives) with the Yeoman Rifles?
Liz
PS EDIT Ripon was in the WEST Riding, though it's north Yorkshire.
As you would expect therefore, Hardcastle was in B Company. When I went back after looking at hundreds of records I saw 'B Coy' on his medical history sheet, faded but fairly clear.


Edited by Liz in Eastbourne, 18 December 2013 - 07:14 PM.


#2 Liz in Eastbourne

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Posted 27 August 2010 - 08:34 PM

Sorry, I've forgot to mention one more person who was probably with Hardcastle (whose number was C12190) in A company: Frank Arnold, discussed in the thread
Looking for further information - someone please show me how to do links on this forum! I've lost my private message icon too since July, without any action on my part, so no one can pm me...


#3 MBrockway

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Posted 29 August 2010 - 01:34 AM

Pals,
Liz has posted more about Rfn John Hardcastle in this Topic here - see the linked Post and those following:
Start of the Rfn Hardcastle posts in Topic - 'Limburg POW Camp?'

Cheers,
Mark

#4 MBrockway

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Posted 29 August 2010 - 01:53 AM

... someone please show me how to do links on this forum! I've lost my private message icon too since July, without any action on my part, so no one can pm me...

Liz,
This is a start: Help Topic: Posting, but it really is rather sketchy - see Insert Special Item.

This adds a bit more: Help Topic: BB Codes

However it doesn't make it clear that you need to use the "ID" of the Topic or the Post. If you navigate to the place you want to link to, then look at the Address Bar in your browser, then you should be able to spot the Topic's ID embedded somewhere in the page's URL. Finding a Post's ID is similar except you click on the underlined Post number in the top right corner of each post. However some browsers will raise a Warning Message when you do this, so I can't really describe how to handle that without writing a manual!!!

Probably best to experiment - you can add Topic/Post links to PMs so feel free to send things to me as a guinea pig, just be aware that both my old computers are up and down like yo-yos at the moment, so you might not get a fast reply :P
Cheers,
Mark

#5 Liz in Eastbourne

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Posted 29 August 2010 - 08:43 AM

Mark, many thanks for your kind offer to be a guinea pig - I think I'll need a few experiments.
Perhaps there should be a tutorial thread on this subject? Perhaps there is one?
Thank you for the supplying the link to the discussion about Hardcastle's record as a POW. As by this time he was in the 2nd Bn I am assuming he may no longer have had any of his original 21st Bn friends with him - although it would of course be exceptionally interesting to find a man who had the same experience. How very lonely and dispiriting it must have been to come back after being wounded and not even be with any of your old pals, in fact, know that many (most?) of them were dead.

Liz

#6 MBrockway

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Posted 29 August 2010 - 01:40 PM

I've lost my private message icon too since July, without any action on my part, so no one can pm me...

Liz,
[OFF TOPIC - please bear with me, Pals :innocent: ]

Your PM Icon is showing up fine when I look at your posts - I suspect it may be a new feature after the upgrade whereby it becomes invisible to the actual user so you cannot PM yourself???
Cheers,
Mark

#7 Liz in Eastbourne

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Posted 29 August 2010 - 02:26 PM

Mark,
Aha!
It is true, I have not felt the need to PM myself or add myself as a friend (the other missing icon in my view). Dur. Yes, sorry about the off-topic bits, everyone. But you never know, some other idiot may have been similarly confused! Thanks (again).
In the hope of re-establishing the topic, I'll just mention that I was interested to see from another thread or two to which you contributed, Mark, that the 21st Bn had the numbers starting C12000. I think you said Frank Arnold's number was a very early one in the series but that you couldn't absolutely rely on the KRRC numbering system. Hardcastle enlisted on 11 November and had the number C12190. The Crossley twins had C12390 and C12391. I suppose close numbers mean enlistment together or on the same day -in theory then one could use records to put together a battalion like this, which consisted of men who all enlisted together in a short period (Nov-Dec 1915), in order of enlistment ? Pity one can't search the CGWC records by battalion or even regiment.
Liz

#8 rendellers

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Posted 29 August 2010 - 02:55 PM

This might help you
http://www.hut-six.c.../search1421.php press log in and then how to register. It does require a donation but is a fantastic resource that is frequently mentioned on the forum and I think it is working again
Regards
Lindsey

#9 Nigel Marshall

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Posted 29 August 2010 - 06:34 PM

Moving back to topic, one of the men commemorated on one of the War Memorials I am researching was a Yeoman Rifles soldier.

He was C/12452 Rifleman Richard Fisher Johnson, of B Company of the 21st Battalion. CWGC used to show his number with a Z/- prefix.
He attested on 25th November 1915 at Helmsley and the Approving Officer was none other than Earl Feversham himself.
In keeping with the core of the battalion he was the third son of Agnes Jane and the late Edmund Johnson who were farmers originating from Driffield in the East Riding of Yorkshire. By the time the Great War broke out the Johnsons were farming land at Barnbow between Scholes and Barwick in Elmet, near Leeds. Richard Johnson was working on another farm at the time of his enlistment, but it was a short walk from his own family farm.
Richard Johnson was wounded on 15th September 1916 with a gun shot wound to the spine which caused paraplegia. He was evacuated to England and the Royal Victoria Hospital at Netley near Southampton, where he died on 30th September 1916.
He was 23 years old.
I suppose in one way the family were fortunate; they were able to bring him home and bury their son and brother in the local churchyard, which of course many families could not do.

Posted Image

Frank Johnson, the youngest son of the family was also killed in the war, serving with the Loyal North Lancashire Regiment. He is buried in France.

Cheers,

Nigel

#10 harley1962

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Posted 29 August 2010 - 07:28 PM

A great great cousin of mine served with the 21st K.R.R.C and d.o.w whilst serving with A company C/12492 Rifleman Alfred Agar from Wetwang a village on the wolds near Driffield. He attested on 23 Nov 1915 at Malton and joined on the 24th at Helmsley he was sent to France as part of the B.E.F on 5th May 1916. He was wounded in action i believe at Messines on 11th June 1917 and died 3 days later. He is burried at Lijssenthoek Military Cemetery. His service papers are available to view on Ancestry.
He again was a farmer and is commemorated on the Wetwang war memorial.

#11 Liz in Eastbourne

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Posted 29 August 2010 - 08:32 PM

Thank you very much, Nigel, this is fascinating. Where is the churchyard? As you say, a small consolation for the family. Hardcastle is buried at Harlebeke New British Cemetery.
Very impressive having the Earl's signature! John Hardcastle attested on 11 November at Ripon according to his form but I think that meant Helmsley, according to his record. I can't read the name of the Attesting Officer on the form - I'll go and have another look at the original but it's not Earl Feversham . Did you find his company stated somewhere on his record? I am just assuming that Hardcastle was in A company because he was from the North Riding and the KRRC Chronicle says
A - North and East Ridings
B - West Riding
C - Northumberland and Durham
D - Lincolnshire , Leicestershire and Norfolk (I'm indebted to Mark Brockway for that and interpreting his main record for me.)

Rfn Johnson (is his number C12452 rather than C2452?) fits this too of course, as he was from the West Riding at the time of enlisting. He and John Hardcastle seem to have had very similar backgrounds and were wounded on the same day at Flers so I am very pleased to know about him - thanks.
Liz
PS EDIT It later dawned on me that Hardcastle too was probably in B Company as Ripon was in the West Riding, not the North, so these two men have even more in common than I thought.

Edited by Liz in Eastbourne, 24 September 2010 - 08:21 AM.


#12 Liz in Eastbourne

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Posted 29 August 2010 - 08:43 PM

Thanks very much Harley 1962 for this information about Alfred Agar, and I'll have a look on Ancestry. I suppose the 21st Bn would all have gone out together on 5 May 1916? John Hardcastle did too. Your cousin stayed in the 21st to the end of his life in June 1917, which might be unusual.

This is becoming really interesting - thanks.
Liz

#13 Liz in Eastbourne

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Posted 29 August 2010 - 08:48 PM

This might help you
http://www.hut-six.c.../search1421.php press log in and then how to register. It does require a donation but is a fantastic resource that is frequently mentioned on the forum and I think it is working again


Thanks very much, Lindsey. I didn't know that site. For the moment, now that some other Yeomen Riflemen are beginning to gather, I am going to wait and hope that we get a fuller picture of who they were from people on the forum who know them, if only slightly.

Liz

#14 Nigel Marshall

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Posted 29 August 2010 - 08:53 PM

Liz,

The cemetery is the churchyard of the Church of All Saints in Barwick in Elmet near Leeds. I have since confirmed it from other sources, but my first knowledge of his company was from Rfn Johnson's CWGC page.
You were right about his service number. I realised earlier and edited it.

Cheers,

Nigel

#15 Liz in Eastbourne

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Posted 30 August 2010 - 08:07 PM

Thanks, Nigel.
I think next time I am up in Yorkshire I'll have to look up various KRRC memorials like this. I gather there isn't much about the battalion at Duncombe Park, unless things have changed since people have written about it, but I must go and see the memorial at Helmsley. The company info isn't on Hardcastle's CWGC page.
Mark may be able to tell whether it's on his record - he kindly found and transcribed it for me and I still haven't found it ...presumably because it's on the NA site but not Ancestry?

I have found another man who has Feversham's signature on his attestation.
Alfred Percival Sleightholme, C/12136, enlisted at Helmsley on 9th November 1915. He was born in 1896 in Kirby Misperton near Pickering in the North Riding, and his family were farmers at Wold Newton in 1901 (interestingly for me, there's both a Hardcastle family and a Metcalf[e], another family connection of mine, on the same page as their census record). I hope this link to his cwgc page works...
here

You'll see he had a Military Medal and was killed or died of wounds on 5th August 1917. I found him courtesy of a Scarborough website in an extract about the 21st Bn KRRC from a book called 'Neath a Foreign Sky' by Paul Allen which seems to be unpublished except there (I'll post the link later). Does anyone know anything about this? He lists several non-farming riflemen from Scarborough whose names I will also post later but this one is included, mysteriously, because he is said to have enlisted in Scarborough. When I checked this, I found he'd enlisted in Helmsley. Anyway, he's certainly a good Yeoman Rifleman who died young - commemorated on the Menin Gate.

Liz

#16 Nigel Marshall

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Posted 30 August 2010 - 08:50 PM

Sleightholme was the family name of the farmers in Scholes, near Leeds when I grew up there. There was another branch of the family called Fisher.
I wonder if they could be the current,or at least recent generations of these men's families?

A cursory glance at Soldiers Died in the Great War shows 20 men who enlisted in Helmsley. Of these, 8 of them were Riflemen, 4 only were Yeomen though, and of the 'others' the majority, as might be expected were Yorkshire Regiment and a smattering of 'odd' men such as artillery and York and Lancaster Regiment.
This is an in complete return though, as Richard Johnson's record clearly shows his enlistment in Helmsley, yet he is shown on SDGW as enlisting in York.

Cheers,

Nigel

#17 Liz in Eastbourne

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Posted 30 August 2010 - 10:45 PM

Sleightholme was the family name of the farmers in Scholes, near Leeds when I grew up there. There was another branch of the family called Fisher.
I wonder if they could be the current,or at least recent generations of these men's families?

A cursory glance at Soldiers Died in the Great War shows 20 men who enlisted in Helmsley. Of these, 8 of them were Riflemen, 4 only were Yeomen though, and of the 'others' the majority, as might be expected were Yorkshire Regiment and a smattering of 'odd' men such as artillery and York and Lancaster Regiment.
This is an in complete return though, as Richard Johnson's record clearly shows his enlistment in Helmsley, yet he is shown on SDGW as enlisting in York.


It certainly sounds possible - it's a very unusual name.
My comment about where he enlisted was a mistake caused by inexperience, sorry for misleading you. Hardcastle enlisted and had his paper approved at the same place - Ripon - and by the same person (I think - not legible) so I didn't notice that Sleightholme's paper was different in those two sections. Mr Allen was quite right, he did enlist in Scarborough, on 5th November 1915, and the approving officer on 9th November was Feversham at Helmsley. Could this be the same sort of explanation for Johnson? Now I have checked the other Scarborough riflemen's attestation papers, they are all the same in this and Sleightholme does 'belong' with them. Also he worked as a draper, though unlike them he was from a farming family.
The list of original yeomen riflemen taken from the Scarborough website is as follows:
Edmund Daws C/12526 enlisted Scarborough 25thNovember 1915, approved at Helmsley by Feversham, ?30th (illegible)Nov. Born Scarborough 1887, killed in action 15th September 1916, Flers. Married
Occupation: Ladies' hairdresser. Parents: Boarding/lodging house keepers.

James Alfred Alcock C/12307 enlisted Scarborough 15th November, approved at Helmsley by Feversham, 17th November. Born Skelton, North Riding 1885, killed in action 15th September 1916, Flers. Married, one child
Trained as plumber, worked as insurance agent. Father: Labourer

John Bedford Rowley C/12497 enlisted at Scarborough 25th November 1915, approved at Helmsley by Feversham 29th November. Born Doncaster 1884, died of wounds 15th September 1916, Flers.
Bank clerk. Mother: boarding house keeper.

Harold Fowler C/12203 enlisted at Scarborough 11th November 1915, approved at Helmsley by Feversham 13th November Born Falsgrave (Scarborough) 1896, killed in action 7thOctober 1916, Battle of Transloy Ridges.
Furniture salesman. Father builder/joiner.

Horace Pugmire C/12678 enlisted at Scarborough 1st December 1915, approved at Helmsley by Feversham (date illegible). Born Scarborough 1898, killed in action 10th October 1916, Battle of Transloy Ridges.
Undergraduate at LeedsUniversity. Father: joiner.

Sgt. Samuel Beecher Horsman C/12137 enlisted at Scarborough 4th November 1915, approved at Helmsley by Feversham 9 th November. Born Falsgrave, Scarborough 1887, died of wounds 7th August1917, start of 3rd Ypres but not a major battle for 21st Bn.
Teacher. Father: clerk

Sgt Alfred Percival Sleightholme C/12136, enlisted at Scarborough 5th November 1915, approved at Helmsley by Feversham 9th November.
Killed in action 5 August 1917, start of 3rd Ypres.
Military Medal.
Draper. Father: farmer.
The last two have consecutive numbers, enlisted on consecutive days, were both sergeants and both lasted until August 1917.

I need to practise this links business for you to see the site! Can't seem to make this one work but hope you can find it using address below.

Liz

It's www.scarboroughsmaritimeheritage.org.uk/greatwar/f26-flers.php


#18 Liz in Eastbourne

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Posted 01 September 2010 - 07:43 AM

Richard Fisher Johnson's attestation form shows that he enlisted at York on 25th November 1915 and then Feversham approved it at Helmsley on 26th, in the same way as the Scarborough recruits. Alfred Agar on the other hand enlisted and had his attestation approved on the same day (23 Nov) by the same person at Malton, just as happened with Hardcastle at Ripon. I've no idea why, maybe it had to do with the status of the attesting officer?

Liz

#19 Nigel Marshall

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Posted 01 September 2010 - 11:13 AM

Ah. Sorry Liz. My mistake. I can't even blame a late night for the error.

Cheers,

Nigel



#20 MBrockway

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Posted 01 September 2010 - 12:32 PM

Pals,
Liz's link above turned into an active hyperlink for general convenience:
Yeoman Rifles' page on Scarborough Maritime Heritage website

Cheers,
Mark

#21 MBrockway

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Posted 01 September 2010 - 03:22 PM

Pals,
Pal shinglma has posted a photo of the 21/KRRC Memorial at Helmsley here:
Mike Shingleton's photo in Kings Royal Rifle Corps

I later added a Google StreetView link to the Memorial further down the same Topic, but I'll repeat that link in here direct:
Helmsley Yeoman Rifles memorial in Google StreetView

In this specific view, the memorial tablet sits on a picture boundary, so there's a slice out of the centre missing, but if you move about, you'll get a views of the whole tablet from further back.

That whole Topic is worth reading for those Rifles Family members interested in 21/KRRC as well as the other KRRC btns invloved in Flers, and it's currently not likely to be detected using the built-in GWF search engine :
Kings Royal Rifle Corps

As is also this one:
Baileyjack's Looking for further information Rfn Frank Arnold, 21st [Yeoman Rifles]Kings Royal Rifle Corps

You'll find a lot of further background to this excellent unit there

Cheers,
Mark

#22 Liz in Eastbourne

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Posted 01 September 2010 - 09:08 PM

Mark, thanks for posting those links, especially the Frank Arnold one I was trying to do in my second post.

I also found two other threads useful on the formation of the battalion, both of which you were involved in:
18th Battalion King's Royal Rifle Corps especially from about post #9, where you started comparing the 18th and 21st Battalions, and 21st Battalion Kings Royal Rifle Corps (Crossley twins).


By the way the rifleman discussed in the KRRC thread you have given the link for above, Bentley, enlisted quite late in December and has the number R22149, completely different from the others. I noticed RW Iley's was similar (can't lay my hands on it just at the moment - his account is quoted at length on another thread and he's mentioned a few times by Anthony Eden in his book Another World)) and being for the first time ever conscious of service numbers I wondered what this indicated- can you tell me?

Liz (I think I've finally got the hang of the topic links - thanks so much for helping me on that.)

#23 Liz in Eastbourne

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Posted 01 September 2010 - 09:12 PM

Ah. Sorry Liz. My mistake. I can't even blame a late night for the error.


No apology is called for, Nigel, you've given me the very rare (on this forum) pleasure of being able to spot the reason for someone else's problem, as a result of my earnest contemplation of the Scarborough recruits' forms, and making the same mistake myself in the first place!
Liz

#24 trenchtrotter

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Posted 02 September 2010 - 03:44 PM

I am fortunate to have Harry Thompsons pair (BWM and victory)

Initials: H
Nationality: United Kingdom
Rank: Rifleman
Regiment/Service: King's Royal Rifle Corps
Unit Text: 21st Bn.
Age: 24
Date of Death: 17/09/1916
Service No: C/12149
Additional information: Son of William Abram Thompson, of 72, Ryan St., West Bowling, Bradford.
Casualty Type: Commonwealth War Dead
Grave/Memorial Reference: Pier and Face 13 A and 13 B.
Memorial: THIEPVAL MEMORIAL

Family contacted me as a result of a post on this forum and I agreed to let them have the medals. Even bought them a KRRC cap badge to go with the group. Never heard from them again? Very perculiar!!

TT

#25 Liz in Eastbourne

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Posted 03 September 2010 - 09:05 AM

Family contacted me as a result of a post on this forum and I agreed to let them have the medals. Even bought them a KRRC cap badge to go with the group. Never heard from them again? Very perculiar!!


How odd. Nowt so queer as folks. Or perhaps something happened. Thompson would be in B company I suppose - West Riding? And died after Flers.
I am now looking at various men mentioned by Anthony Eden in his marvellous short book Another World - 1897-1917, which is two-thirds about the Yeoman Rifles. I got it this week very cheap, second-hand from Amazon, and I'd recommend it even to people with no interest in the KRRC. His friends were in C company, naturally.
Here's one:
Tom Liddell, C/12394, MM, born Silksworth, Durham, a butcher by trade living in Ryhope, Sunderland.
Enlisted in Sunderland on 22 Nov 1915, attestation form approved by the same illegible Major who was the attesting officer.
Eden writes of him with tremendous warmth and admiration - 'the more tense and dangerous a situation, the more his courage rose to meet it...Liddell's other gift was a high technical efficiency in whatever he undertook. So it was that, besides being a good shot and skilled in the use of our variety of bombs and grenades, we had not been in Plugstreet many weeks before he was our swiftest operator in strengthening our barbed wire and cutting through the enemy's.'
He died of wounds on 28 March 1918 serving in the 18th Bn KRRC. I haven't checked what he got his MM for but Eden says that in September 1917 when his company 'had lost all its officers and senior NCOs, Tom, then a junior sergeant, took over command as if this were the most natural event in the world, rallied his riflemen and led them to their objective which they consolidated and held'.
Makes you think - if Liddell had survived the war, would he have gone back to being a butcher?

Liz





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