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21st Battalion KRRC - the original Yeomen

KRRC Yeoman Rifles

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#51 Liz in Eastbourne

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Posted 11 September 2010 - 11:22 AM

I've recently found the story of Rifleman John Thomas Hardcastle, 21st Battalion KRRC - one of the original yeomen of the Yeoman Rifles. <snip>

... 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. 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!)


Oh dear - I've found another error on my part. Hardcastle was probably in 'B' company. Ripon, where he enlisted and which was very close to where he lived at Mulwith, is in north Yorkshire, but historically it was in the West Riding - though close to the border with the North Riding..
This is a particularly shocking thoughtcrime as I was born in Ripon...
BTW Gerald Dennis is very useful on companies. He confirms the overall scheme we discussed, but mentions various exceptions - he was one.
Liz

#52 Liz in Eastbourne

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Posted 11 September 2010 - 11:45 AM

Using Geoff's search engine,



Is this the one Lindsey recommended earlier?
This is very interesting. I'd certainly like to know about these men.
As you can tell my little corner in the subject mainly involves using the info from these two books I've acquired (as not that many people seem to have read them) plus cwgc and ancestry. This will not be anything like as exhaustive on casualties as your study, of course.
I was intending fairly soon to post some info about Reg Park C/ 12015, who's in this category (died 20 July 1916) - it might supplement yours.The War Diary doesn't specifically mention the incident (Eden does - Park was a great friend of his) but says that in the week 17-23 July, 13 men were wounded and evacuated and 8 were killed.
Thanks!
Liz

#53 Liz in Eastbourne

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Posted 12 September 2010 - 09:15 PM

Anyway here's this KRRC article from 2006 about Dennis and the 21st Bn. It includes a photograph of a number of men with the Fevershams on 3 May 1916 , but the only one I think I've seen mentioned here is Trenchtrotter's man Harry Thompson - have you seen this, TT?

Gerald Dennis article


I've just realised this photograph also shows Alfred Agar of Wetwang, mentioned earlier in this thread, sitting next to Rfn JW Collier: I didn't notice before because the caption says 'R C Agara', but the owner of a private family tree on Ancestry containing this photograph kindly let me see it to check who was on it and while it was the same, the caption is different and says 'Alfred C Agar' for this man.

Liz

#54 Liz in Eastbourne

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Posted 14 September 2010 - 06:42 AM

Nigel,
I'm sure I've posted the 21/KRRC battalion war diary entries for 14-16 Sep 1916 somewhere on the Forum, and not that long ago either, but try as I might, I just can't get the new Forum "search" tool to reveal it!

I distinctly remember a discussion centred on the exact casualty figures.


Is this the one, Mark? 21st Bn KRRC and the attack on Flers 15/09/1916
(Edit: Correct link but title is ' Accuracy of dates of death on CWGC site' -the title I gave is Nigel's thread about Rfn Johnson, though it's fairly appropriate here too.)

It's the discussion started by Perth Digger of the fact that so many 21st Bn casualties are listed as killed in action on 17th Sept instead of 15th when they certainly weren't in action on 16th and 17th. You posted a small extract, the crucial bit giving the casualties.

Even though the Annals may be slightly easier to follow, the War Diary has a riveting immediacy, hasn't it?

I got this last week at Kew as I mentioned (though I learned that it can be accessed at the NA online, WO/95/2643 image ref 251, for a fee – I hadn't found it) and what struck me here was the initials to the right of those figures (not visible in your extract) and at the end of many other days' entries in September: RAE, (Robert) Anthony Eden (later Prime Minister, forever associated with Suez). September is the first month where you no longer see Feversham's beautiful handwriting signing off the month, because he was dead and Foljambe, a professional soldier (unlike Feversham) and much liked and respected (like Feversham), had taken over, and it's also when Eden,aged 19, became adjutant and so took over responsibility for the War Diary. In his beautifully-written short book Another Country (1976, Allen Lane – available secondhand online, cheaply) Eden says that after the awful roll-call of the depleted battalion on 16 September:

He [Foljambe] beckoned me to him and said quietly: 'Eden, you'll be adjutant.' I was amazed, excited, above all scared. 'But sir,' I managed to protest, 'I know nothing about it'. 'Never said you did' came the curt reply.

He recalls that he had a hard time coping with all his new duties but was helped by the excellent orderly-room sergeant, Arnold Rushworth. Perhaps it is Rushworth's handwriting in the main diary from 15th Sept, but I think the casualty figures (in a different hand) were written by Eden.

Meanwhile I had to learn my duties and in the afternoon I would delve among the mysteries of march tables, war diaries and the countless returns that officialdom demanded. First in importance among these was our casualty return for September 15th, as far as I could ascertain it.

This read: Killed
4 officers 54 other ranks
Wounded
10 officers 256 other ranks
Missing 70 other ranks

The missing were those of whose fate in action no survivor could give any first-hand details. As the enemy had not broken through our line at any time he could not have captured any prisoners, though as our weakened battalion was compelled to give a little ground, some of our dead remained in his hands, including the colonel. It was therefore a grim presumption that almost all the missing would be dead.

Reading the War Diary for September along with Eden's recollection in old age, as well as Dennis's, is very poignant.

This is turning into a bit of a monologue but I hope someone may be interested now or later.

Liz

#55 Liz in Eastbourne

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Posted 14 September 2010 - 02:49 PM

Continuing the theme of my last post I am going to transcribe here the War Diary of the Yeoman Rifles for the two weeks before the battle of Flers-Courcelette, which started on 15th September, the day in which the Yeoman Rifles were involved and suffered heavy losses - 96 years ago tomorrow. Interspersed in italics are comments by Anthony Eden in his book 'Another World'. His initials, as adjutant from the day after Flers, appear seven times on this page of the War Diary.
EDIT I have cut these sections from 'Another World' because I think they were too long and do not wish to infringe copyright. The book is available cheaply online and is well worth buying.

Francières Sep 1-6 The Battn remained at Francières engaged in Coy and Battn training.


My clearest memory is of the company marching back to billets along a dusty country road, tired but cheerful and singing so that even Norman Carmichael's firm repetition of the step to No 10 Platoon could scarcely be heard. The next night just before the light of dawn, the Yeoman Rifles wound up the hill out of Françières to entrain for the Somme. As they sang 'There's a long, long trail a-winding', they were at the peak of their strength and pride.

Longpré Sep 7th The Battn entrained at Longpré-les-Corps-Saints,detrained at Mericourt and camped at E9 a [map ref] near Dernancourt.

Dernancourt Sep 8th The Battn rested in camp at Dernancourt.

Sep 9th The Battn moved into camp at Becordel (F7 a)

Sep 10th Lt Col the Earl of Feversham and the adjutant and four company commanders visited Delville Wood.

Sep 11th-12th Battalion rested in camp at Becordel.
We were on the edge of the battle area and I began to see real devastation...All around us were the sights and sounds of war as I had never known it...
[Feversham] stood for a moment outside his truck, '40 hommes 8 chevaux', listening to the guns and drinking in the scene, as strange to him as to me. Then he turned to Foljambe and said with deep feeling, 'The real thing at last, thank goodness.'

Sep 13th Battalion moved up to Pomières Redoubt marching out at 4pm & arriving about 7.30 pm & bivouacked for the night. Officers and men not taking part in the forthcoming attack joined the transport & proceeded to Bècourt Wood.

each company had to leave behind two officers and two senior sergeants as well as a percentage of junior NCOs…I asked casually who was to be left behind. He said,'You, Boy,' and mentioned another comparatively senior officer. I was outraged and exclaimed that he could not possibly leave me behind…I was not appeased and asked to see the colonel…Charlie Feversham shook his head. It's not like that, Anthony…Don't you think I would like to have Foljambe with me? But it cannot be. We have to take some thought for the battalion's future.'

Pomières Sep 14th Battalion paraded at 6pm to move up to assembly trenches in front of Delville Wood.

Edited by Liz in Eastbourne, 30 August 2012 - 09:17 AM.


#56 MBrockway

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Posted 15 September 2010 - 12:24 AM

Liz,
Brilliant idea to intersperse Eden with the WD! It really brings the War Diary alive :poppy: .

I'll post pictures of Feversham and Foljambe when I get time.
Cheers,
Mark

#57 MBrockway

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Posted 15 September 2010 - 12:31 AM

Is this the one, Mark? 21st Bn KRRC and the attack on Flers 15/09/1916
(Edit: Correct link but title is ' Accuracy of dates of death on CWGC site' -the title I gave is Nigel's thread about Rfn Johnson, though it's fairly appropriate here too.)

The very same! Thanks so much for finding it - I hunted for ages before.

I'm really enjoying this Topic BTW. It's becoming an excellent resource for the Yeoman Rifles.
Cheers,
Mark

#58 Liz in Eastbourne

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Posted 15 September 2010 - 06:43 AM

Mark,
Delighted you've been able to get back, hope it means the computer's behaving better - and I am very chuffed to have two brownie points (not quite in the right idiom, but still) from the Brigadier-General! I have been missing your guidance.
I will be putting some more of the same for this crucial period for the Yeoman Rifles here, in chunks. Look forward to your photographs of Feversham and Foljambe.

BTW how can it be that Feversham was not a professional soldier yet commanding a battalion? Could you just leap to colonel if you were raising a battalion in the New Army? I took it from Eden who says this on p 67:

He was not a professional soldier as was Foljambe, his second-in-command, but he had a good brain and enough experience to adapt himself to his new tasks as an infantryman. Despite which he was happiest on a horse and looked his best there.


I haven't checked his military record but his obituary and other Times reports during his lifetime and just after show that he was educated at Eton and Christ Church, Oxford, MP for Thirsk and Malton 1906 -15 (he inherited the title from his grandfather only in 1915), a major Yorkshire landowner and farmer despite having to sell off land to pay death duties on his grandfather's estate, and at the start of the war (? date?) was in command of the Yorkshire Hussars, in which his grandfather had had a commission, until it 'was formed into divisional cavalry'. This may well be an issue that's discussed elsewhere - perhaps there were other amateurs with high rank.

Liz

#59 MBrockway

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Posted 15 September 2010 - 01:47 PM

BTW how can it be that Feversham was not a professional soldier yet commanding a battalion? Could you just leap to colonel if you were raising a battalion in the New Army? I took it from Eden who says this on p 67:

He was not a professional soldier as was Foljambe, his second-in-command, but he had a good brain and enough experience to adapt himself to his new tasks as an infantryman. Despite which he was happiest on a horse and looked his best there.

I haven't checked his military record but his obituary and other Times reports during his lifetime and just after show that he was educated at Eton and Christ Church, Oxford, MP for Thirsk and Malton 1906 -15 (he inherited the title from his grandfather only in 1915), a major Yorkshire landowner and farmer despite having to sell off land to pay death duties on his grandfather's estate, and at the start of the war (? date?) was in command of the Yorkshire Hussars, in which his grandfather had had a commission, until it 'was formed into divisional cavalry'. This may well be an issue that's discussed elsewhere - perhaps there were other amateurs with high rank.
Liz

The Yorkshire Hussars were a yeomanry regiment - i.e. a territorial cavalry regiment.

See here:
Yorkshire Hussars on the Mother Site

At the start of the war Feversham was in fact a long-standing territorial major in the Yorks Hussars, not the OC, but the colonel failed to pass the doctors, so Feversham was put in command. He organised them and trained them for the field and eventually took them over to France in April 1915.

Cheers,
Mark

#60 MBrockway

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Posted 15 September 2010 - 02:31 PM

I'll post pictures of Feversham and Foljambe when I get time.
Cheers,
Mark

Ooops!

My picture on file of Foljambe is in fact of Major Hubert Francis Fitzwilliam Brabazon FOLJAMBE (known as 'Tom') of Osberton, Scofton, Notts. who was KiA on 14 Sep 1914 on the Aisne with 2/KRRC. I'll not post it as it could 'confuse' and misdirect the Topic!

The OC 21/KRRC mentioned above by Eden was Lt Col the Hon. Gerald William Frederick Savile FOLJAMBE, the future 3rd Earl of Liverpool.

Gerald Foljambe was in fact an Oxfordshire & Buckinghamshire Light Infantry (OBLI) officer attached to the 60th rather than a true-bred Rifleman, though of course the OBLI had much common tradition with the RB from serving together in Wellington's Light Brigade in the Peninsula Campaign, and the three regiments (OBLI, KRRC and RB) eventually came together as the Royal Green Jackets.

The Foljambes were a prominent family in Nottinghamshire and am sure these two branches would be related in some way.

As well as being prominent Liberal politicians, several of the Foljambes were career soldiers and they had strong connections with the rifles regiments.

Hubert's brother (I think - but don't rely on that without checking!) Edmond WS FOLJAMBE was a Captain in 1/RB.

Gerald's elder half brother, Arthur William de Brito Savile FOLJAMBE, the 2nd Earl of Liverpool, had served as in the Boer War also as a captain in the RB. Arthur Foljambe spent the war as Governor-General of New Zealand and raised the New Zealand Rifle Brigade while out there.

Quite a family!
Cheers,
Mark

#61 Liz in Eastbourne

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Posted 15 September 2010 - 09:05 PM

Thanks very much for the information about the Yorkshire Hussars, Mark - I realise now that when Eden said he wasn't a professional soldier, he certainly didn't mean he had little or no experience.

Foljambe sounds quite a character and what you've found out about the family is fascinating. I had never heard the name before, I admit, despite the political connections. Eden thought he was a wonderful commanding officer who had enabled the battalion to recover from the Somme casualties, and described himself as 'desolate' when in 1917 Foljambe was 'ordered back to England to instruct at a school for commanding officers'.

Liz

#62 Liz in Eastbourne

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Posted 16 September 2010 - 10:21 PM

The 21st Battalion KRRC War Diary for September 15, 16 and 17 1916 (following on from my earlier posts). Each day was initialled by Eden as adjutant after 16 Sept, as explained before. He was kept out of the line so I haven't interspersed his comments this time.





DELVILLE WOOD Sep 15


The Battalion took part in an attack on the enemy lines in front of DELVILLE WOOD.



The 124th Brigade advanced on a line which passed between the villages of FLERS on the left and GUEUDECOURT on the right. The Battalion was on the left of the first line with the 10th Queens on the right & the 26th & 32nd Royal Fusiliers in support. The 122nd Brigade was on the left & the 14th Division on the right. The attack started at 6.30 after artillery & the first objective the SWITCH TRENCH was taken without difficulty practically no living enemy being encountered. After further artillery preparation the attacking force went on & took the second objective the FLERS TRENCH where a few prisoners were taken but the enemy showed little disposition to fight. During this stage of the advance the Battalion suffered rather heavily through getting too near our own barrage. It was found impossible to continue the advance, owing to lack of support on the flanks & the line of the second objective was consolidated.

During this stage of the operations the Battalion lost 2nd Lieuts. Hervey, Benton & Nivison killed. Capts Watson Pitt Law & Coates & 2nd Lieuts Waldy, Yeatman & Jones wounded.

Late in the day Lt Col the Earl of Feversham went forward with Lt Col Oakley of the 10th Queens & as many men as could be collected to the third & fourth objectives in front of GUEUDECOURT village. They reached the third objective & successfully withstood more than one counter attack. During this time Lt Col the Earl of Feversham was killed. They were eventually forced to retire & consolidate on a line about 400 yards in front of the second objective when the remnants of the Battalion remained until relieved about 3 am the following morning by the ?11th? Queen's under Lt Col ?Othe? , when they returned to Brigade Headquarters at QUARRY DUMP. During the late operations the Battalion lost in addition to the Colonel killed Capt Honey & Lieuts ?Basiter? & ?Taback? wounded.



Killed

4 officers 54 OR

Wounded

10 officers 256 OR

Missing 70 OR

DELVILLE WOOD Sep 16 & Sep 17

The Battalion paraded at the QUARRY DUMP at 11.00 & moved up to the SWITCH TRENCH where they remained about an hour & then received orders to return to FLARE ALLEY where they remained in support until the following evening they were relieved & returned to the POMIERES Redoubt.



That's the end of those three days - I'll add a few bits from Eden and Dennis in a separate post. If anyone can correct the queried words, or any other error, I'll edit the text.


Liz

PS Decided subsequently NOT to edit, after all, but please see following posts for corrections and notes.



#63 MBrockway

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Posted 17 September 2010 - 03:29 AM

During this stage of the operations the Battalion lost 2nd Lieuts. Hervey [2/Lt Thomas Percy Arthur Hervey]2&3 [transferred from 15/KRRC to 21/KRRC date not given]4, Benton [2/Lt Frank Benton, attached from 15th Battalion]3 [transferred from 15/KRRC to 21/KRRC on 12 Jul 1916]4 & Nivison [2/Lt Robert Butler Nivison]2&3 [transferred from 15/KRRC to 21/KRRC on 12 Jul 1916]4 killed. Capts Watson [Capt A.T. Watson]2 [Watson rejoined the Btn on 17 Apr 1917]5 Pitt [I could not find 'Pitt' nor 'Pitt Law' ]2 Law [T/Capt R.W.R. Law]2 [R.W.E. Law]4 & Coates [Capt J.B. Coates]2 & 2nd Lieuts Waldy [2/Lt J.N. Waldy]2 [Waldy rejoined the Btn at end Apr 1917]5, Yeatman [Tricky! Could be T/2/Lt Denis John Yeaman (sic) Killed in Action between 05 & 10 Oct 19163 but he could only have been lightly wounded to be back in Action in 3 weeks, so more likely is 2/Lt F.W. Yateman listed as Wounded]2 & Jones [2/Lt P.A. Jones]2 [transferred from 15/KRRC to 21/KRRC date not given]4 wounded [T/2/Lt Philip Allsworth Jones, 21/KRRC, Died of Wounds 27 Sep 1916]3 .

...
They were eventually forced to retire & consolidate on a line about 400 yards in front of the second objective when the remnants of the Battalion remained until relieved about 3 am the following morning by the ?11th? [11th]1 Queen's under Lt Col ?Othe? [Otter]1, when they returned to Brigade Headquarters at QUARRY DUMP. During the late operations the Battalion lost in addition to the Colonel killed Capt Honey [Capt L.F.O.S. Honey - Wounded]2 & Lieuts ?Basiter? [Lt R.C.S. Baxter]2 & ?Taback? [unsure but I think this must be Lt H.T. Turner]2 wounded.

If anyone can correct
the queried words, or any other error, I'll edit the text.
Liz

Liz,
You've done a great job - I've long found these WD pages particularly difficult to make out! I've interspersed some updates into the gobbet quoted above. Also some supplementary info on these officers for your 21/KRRC files.

15/KRRC incidentally was one of the Reserve btns training new recruits. It was in Seaford at this time.

The full 21st Battalion 1916 Officer Casualty List (from Source 2) is ...

Lt Col The Earl of Feversham - KiA [15 Sep 1916]
Capt RC Barton - Wounded
Capt JB Coates - Wounded
Capt FAC Hole - Wounded
Capt LFOS Honey - Wounded
Capt GF Howard - Wounded
Capt AT Watson - Wounded
T/Capt GLJ Burton - Wounded
T/Capt RWR Law - Wounded
Lt RCS Baxter - Wounded
Lt HT Turner - Wounded
2/Lt JS Anderson - DoW [Died on 10 Oct 1916 of wounds received on 07 Oct 1916]3
2/Lt M Cole - Wounded
2/Lt RP Graham - Wounded
2/Lt TPA Hervey - KiA
2/Lt PA Jones - DoW [DoW 27 Sep 1916]3
2/Lt RB Nivison - KiA
2/Lt JN Waldy - Wounded
2/Lt FW Yateman - Wounded
2/Lt DJ Yeaman - KiA [KiA between 05 & 10 Oct 1916]3
:poppy:

Frank Benton KiA is omitted for some reason.



Sources:

1 Cross reference with the 11/Queen's War Diary, which is on-line. Otter was a major of the Norfolks attached to 26th Royal Fusiliers and only recently put in command of 11/Queen's
2 1916 KRRC Chronicle Officers' Casualty List - 21st Battalion sub-section
3 CWGC Debt of Honour
4 1916 KRRC Chronicle 15th Battalion War Record
5 1917 KRRC Chronicle 21st Battalion War Record

Cheers,
Mark

#64 Liz in Eastbourne

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Posted 19 September 2010 - 09:48 AM

Mark, thank you so much, this is terrific. I have decided NOT to edit my original post after all because it makes better sense if people can see how you've corrected it, and also be reminded that we're dealing with a handwritten record here. Would you agree that's clearer?

The supplementary info and Casualty List are very useful too, thanks again. When Perth Digger has finished his work we should have a fairly complete list of other ranks killed, too. Meanwhile men like Hardcastle are being shipped off to be patched up...

I'll just add some supplementary info from the two books I keep quoting from, by Anthony Eden, originally young officer with C Company but adjutant from 16 Sept, and GV Dennis, now Lance-Corporal and signaller in C Company (despite being from the East Riding of Yorkshire - he specifically points this out) though later demoted and transferred to D Company, for not reporting his friends when he should have done and arguing about it.

Dennis on p 14 lists C Company officers as follows:
Captain Pitt was our CO; 2nd Lt Eden was No 9 Platoon Officer; young Yeaman was with No 10; Waldy was with No 11 and Thorpe was with No 12. Waldy, short and stolid, had evidently come from farming. Thorpe was typical Northumberland in dialect, quite a burr. Some of his words amused us at first because he could not sound the letter "r" which appeared to sound like a "w" . (This of course included the word 'ranks' , hence the hilarity.) Captain Honey was Second in Command of the Company and the Adjutant.
Perhaps Thorpe was kept out of the line like Eden, because Dennis says after Flers only one junior Officer, Darkie Cole,was there of all the commissioned officers that went over, the only survivor. He seems to be referring there to the whole battalion, not just C Company.

PITT In addition to Dennis's mention above, Eden mentions Captain Joe Pitt three times, on p 74 in training at Aldershot as my company commander, Captain Joe Pitt, who always stood by me;
p 77 having inadvertently picked an onion flower to decorate the dugout in Plugstreet, he returns with Joe Pitt, who exclaimed as he entered, 'What is the filthy stink in here?'
and p 95 when he is told that he won't be part of the Flers battle as previously mentioned: 'our company commander sent for me...Joe Pitt said he knew this would be my reaction' . Feversham in the reply already mentioned said 'Of course Joe Pitt would like to have you with him'.
However, neither of them specifically mentions Pitt as wounded, although the implication is that almost all the officers who took part in the battle were casualties.


HONEY Both Eden and Dennis mention Honey, as he was Adjutant, and lost an eye.


TURNER (I find it really hard to read that word as Turner! but as you say it must be.) Dennis, p 83:
An enemy shell dropped where the RSM, the Police Sergeant and the Pioneer Sergeant and Corporal lay. Two were wounded and two were killed; we learnt that Gunson had been hit in the leg. Immediately afterwards Tockie Turner, the Signals Officer, was hit in the stomach and lay writhing in agony. The Intelligence Officer was killed and the Adjutant, who liked smart saluting on pay days, was hit in the eye.



Liz







#65 MBrockway

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Posted 19 September 2010 - 01:33 PM

... because it makes better sense if people can ... be reminded that we're dealing with a handwritten record here. Would you agree that's clearer?

I'm good with that, Liz.

Pals,
We should be aware here that Liz has done an excellent bit of work on these war diary transcriptions as well as the valuable cross-references with the primary sources from Eden and Dennis.

The handwriting on these 21/KRRC September 1916 war diary pages is diabolical! Pehaps excusably I admit.

Both Liz and I have had some formal training in paleography and I for one have found the manuscript is in a particulary difficult hand to make out.

I've posted some samples further on so you can see for yourselves.

I'll just add some supplementary info from the two books I keep quoting from <snip>

Dennis on p 14 lists C Company officers as follows:
Captain Pitt was our CO; <snip> young Yeaman was with No 10 [platoon]; <snip> and Thorpe was with No 12. <snip>

Perhaps Thorpe was kept out of the line like Eden, because Dennis says after Flers only one junior Officer, Darkie Cole,was there of all the commissioned officers that went over, the only survivor. He seems to be referring there to the whole battalion, not just C Company. <snip>

PITT In addition to Dennis's mention above, Eden mentions Captain Joe Pitt three times <snip>

However, neither of them specifically mentions Pitt as wounded, although the implication is that almost all the officers who took part in the battle were casualties. <snip>

HONEY Both Eden and Dennis mention Honey, as he was Adjutant, and lost an eye.

TURNER (I find it really hard to read that word as Turner! but as you say it must be.) Dennis, p 83:
<snip> Tockie Turner, the Signals Officer, was hit in the stomach and lay writhing in agony. The Intelligence Officer was killed and the Adjutant, who liked smart saluting on pay days, was hit in the eye.

Could you give me date for Dennis's p.14 entry listing his Coy officers? I'll then see if there's any mention of Thorpe between then and Flers that might help us to account for his absence.

WRT to the D.J. Yeaman vs F.W. Yateman decision - at least we now know Yeaman was definitely present. Here's the snippet:
Attached File  War Diary Flers 15 Sep 1916 - Officers mentioned 02.jpg   14.23KB   0 downloads
["2nd Lieuts. Waldy, Yeatman ..."]
Although there's definitely a rogue letter t present, I think I'm more inclined to go with this referring to 2/Lt D.J. Yeaman - adding a t is the lesser error than naming the wrong man, and after all the War Diary writer would have been familiar with the confusion between the two officers' names. My main reason for being lukewarm about him before was that he was Killed in Action between 05 and 10 October 1916, which is only three weeks later and rather soon to have returned from any serious wounding. It is of course possible and he may have been patched up and back in action in days.

Very valuable corroboration on Capt Joe Pitt, as I could find nothing in my other KRRC reference material on him. Perhaps he was not wounded seriously enough to be passed far up the CasEvac chain and returned to duty quickly, thus not meriting a mention in the KRRC Chronicle Officers' Casualty List?? We have just seen that 2/Lt Yeaman is also likely to have returned to duty within days.

Re: ?Turner ?Taback - I was very unsure indeed about interpreting the text as Turner - your Taback certainly looks better ...
Attached File  War Diary Flers 15 Sep 1916 - Officers mentioned 01.jpg   24.56KB   0 downloads
["Capt. Honey & Lieuts. Baxter & Turner wounded"]
However, with the corroboration you've found from Dennis on Turner being wounded, I am much happier that this is indeed Lt H.T. Turner, the Signals Officer.

Incidentally Toc was the "signalese" for the letter t. As Signals Officer with a surname beginning with t, I bet "Tockie" Turner's nickname is related to that - LOL!

Another point: Dennis's gobbet also implies that the Btn Intelligence Officer, who he reports as killed. was 2/Lt TPA Hervey. The only other candidate is 2/Lt PA Jones, but Jones was not killed at Flers but Died of Wounds on 27 Sep 1916. Hervey is mentioned earlier in the War Diary as leading an advance party to sort out billets, but I have not found anything exlpicitly naming him as IO.

This really is great stuff Liz - we now know the roles of a large group of the 21/KRRC officers before Flers. That is very valuable indeed!

Cheers,
Mark

#66 Liz in Eastbourne

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Posted 20 September 2010 - 07:38 PM

Thank you again Mark, for both the information and the commendation. I'm very pleased to be able to contribute a little bit.
(I like your bit about formal training in paleography - I knew all that Old and Middle English MS perusal would come in handy one day! ) I'm glad you've posted those tricky little extracts from the WD - and I hope other people find this close attention to the sources fascinating as well.

Very good question about the date of Dennis's account of the officers in C Company - I should have said that it refers to the very beginning at Helmsley. So I'm afraid it doesn't help us with who was in the battle of Flers, in the absence of other evidence.

YEAMAN/ YATEMAN I'm veering back to your original preference for Yateman - naturally, since he's on the KRRC list and Yeaman isn't - in spite of this info I've just rediscovered in a collection of notes added to Dennis's book by Michael Hickes in 1993 on the basis of conversations with him and other surviving veterans:

YEAMAN, 2nd Lt - was slightly wounded in an early offensive; returned to the line; killed - head buried, body was never identified -"from the north-east" (GVD)

But what is the 'early offensive'? It'd be an odd way of referring to Flers, wouldn't it? Elsewhere M Hickes does say 'wounded at Flers' so it seems as if he means something else, but I thought they took part in no offensive before Flers even though there were earlier incidents e.g. the raids in July. Perhaps he's just mistaken in his term, or else I am. BTW Yeaman was indeed from the NE, from Durham (1901 census).
I'm assuming there are no dates on the wounded officers in the casualty list? They could both have been wounded, as you said, one seriously and one slightly, but this WD reference is not unlikely to mean Yateman. If you'd heard the two names spoken but you'd most often written 'Yeaman' because that officer was attached to C Company (like Eden) and Yateman was in another one - don't know if that's true - then it would be an easier mistake to make, or fail to spot when someone else (probably Rushworth) made it, than putting an extra 't' in 'Yeaman'. If you see what I mean. My money's on Yateman.
(Please see following post for change of mind!)

By the way the Dennis book is in cruelly tiny print and I am all too likely to keep finding things I've missed. It is indexed for the main names though.
Here's an extra bit about Joe Pitt. Dennis was very put out at Aldershot when Capt Pitt tried the line of 'The Army tries to make a gentleman of you and here you are...' etc in a reprimand.

I could not help thinking how funny his words were. He was a Londoner and I would like to have told him where most of his Company came from and the type of men and boys who were in the Company. He was a gentleman alright, very kind but many years older than most of us. Regular Army officers had probably thought that we were not gentleman and any language was used to let us know, but I think that the CO knew all about us.

The wounded Cole on the KRRC list is Monty 'Ginger' Cole, as opposed to John 'Darkie' Cole. Dennis says they were both in D Company, and (at the beginning of their time at Plug Street) Major Paget was i/c D Company and the CSM was Gibson. Eden however mentions Major Rowley Paget as never having sailed with the battalion, despite having been 'our junior major in Aldershot days', and having come out later to join another KRRC battalion. He describes being called over to see him in a tent badly wounded after Flers:
with one leg smashed and the other wounded, and gassed as well, he had lain for hours in no-man's-land, given up for dead, when some of our riflemen had happened upon him and brought him in.
I think Eden will be right on this: he says Paget recovered and they were neighbours in Sussex years later. Unless there were two Pagets as well.

Of course, Tockie as in Toc H! Didn't think.
I am not very clear on Pioneer Sergeants. Someone on another thread provided a very helpful explanation about how they were men with basic practical/engineering skills but how many would there be? I know Jim Dale in A company (on the Countess photograph in the article previously mentioned) was a Pioneer Sergeant but does that mean he was the one mentioned by Dennis here? (from my previous post):
An enemy shell dropped where the RSM, the Police Sergeant and the Pioneer Sergeant and Corporal lay.
Or were there several? one for each Company? or more?
Liz

Edited by Liz in Eastbourne, 11 June 2012 - 08:37 AM.


#67 Liz in Eastbourne

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Posted 21 September 2010 - 06:48 AM

Sorry! Here's another discovery relating to Yeaman, as I plod painfully through the tiny type of A Kitchener Man's Bit to the account of Gird Ridge on 7 October.

A young lieutenant of "A" Company, who had been slightly wounded on the 15th, had rejoined us on the night before with a few other ranks who thought they were lucky to get back to the Yeoman Rifles. He had been hit by a shell and, when the emergency party were ordered to bury the dead, his head had to be found - his body had been blown yards away.

This is surely the same incident referred to in the note I quoted relating to Lt. Yeaman in my last post, even though there is no reference to the text from the note and no name in the text: it means the reference to 'an early offensive' is to Flers.
The book was published in 1993, the year before GV Dennis died, and Michael Hickes explains in a foreword dated Sept 1993 that he learned two years before this that Dennis had made a book from his diary of the Great War ten years afterwards, while convalescing from an operation on his foot (wounded in the war), but had not managed to get it published
because ( a ) it was too long and detailed, ( b ) it needed indexing, and ( c ) - and this in 1929! - there was not enough sex in it!
He therefore volunteered to help prepare the text, and added notes at the end from conversations as previously mentioned. So it isn't surprising if there is an occasional lack of clarity.
Dennis had originally said Yeaman was with "C" Company but perhaps that could have changed?

So I've taken my money off the mention in the WD text being intended for 'Yateman', at least until more evidence about Lt. Yateman emerges. Perhaps they were both wounded and only one was mentioned. Poor Yeaman with his slight wounding was not the lucky one, though at least his death was obviously instant.
Liz

#68 Liz in Eastbourne

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Posted 21 September 2010 - 08:41 AM

Just to conclude the month of September in the War Diary for 1916. Both Dennis and Eden have moving accounts of the shattering impact of Flers on the battalion. Eden writes of the inspection by General Clemson on his second day as adjutant - I'm not sure of the date as he was told on 16th but the official appointments were made on 19th.


EDIT I have slightly cut my quotes from Eden for the same reason as before: 'Another World' is well worth buying and though out of print is available online.

Being left of the line we were the last battalion for inspection on what must have been for Clemson a sad tour of duty. Though our battalion and the Queen's had suffered most severely when leading the attack, the two Fusilier battalions in support had endured grievous losses also. I doubt if Clemson's brigade was at half strength that morning, even allowing for a few drafts and the reserves kept out of the last battle, so that the mood was sombre, though not stiff. it never was with Clemson...
...
During the next fortnight few drafts reached us and only one or two officers from our reserve battalion. We were therefore tragically under strength and limited in what we could do to rest and refit our weakened companies.
(p. 100)

The War Diary's last page for September has a confused, under-strength look too, compared with earlier months, I think - minimal detail, erratic writing, crossings out.

DERNANCOURT Sept 18th
The Battalion returned to camp at DERNANCOURT.
Sept 19th
The Battalion rested in camp & the following appointments were made: Major the Hon G.W.F. Foljambe took over the command of the battalion. Lt Sheardown took over the command of D Coy vice Capt Coates wounded, Lt Meysey Thompson took over the command of C Coy vice Capt Pitt wounded & Lt Eden was appointed acting adjutant.
Sept 20th -25th
The Battalion remained in camp at DERNANCOURT, training in the attack, the construction of strong points, etc.
Sept 25 - 30th
Battalion remained in camp at DERNANCOURT.

(Note: Meysey-Thompson was usually hyphenated.
EDIT:' Coates' looks a bit like 'Water' and I at first interpreted this as Watson, but any slight doubt remaining about the interpretation of this entry as 'Coates' has now been removed: there was only one Capt Watson, 'Patch' of B company, who was wounded at Gird Ridge, not Flers.

Eden gives this gloss on p 102:
Clemson could not tell us much of the future, but Foljambe was convinced that we should soon be in action again. He also thought it probable that, our casualties and those of the Queen's having been so heavy on September 15th, we could reasonably expect to be in support next time and the two Fusilier battalions in the lead. He was soon to be proved right on both counts. For the next fortnight we rehearsed assiduously the duties of a support battalion, we built strong points and we conjectured when and where our division's turn would come.


I've got some other info on the officers mentioned but I am sure you have too from the records, Mark. And I keep hoping that someone else will come in who has a particular interest in one of these men!

Liz

Edited by Liz in Eastbourne, 11 June 2012 - 08:38 AM.


#69 MBrockway

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Posted 21 September 2010 - 08:59 AM

... I keep hoping that someone else will come in who has a particular interest in one of these men!

Liz

Liz,
Rest assured - if I know the Pals, and the Rifles Family in particular, there will be many watching this thread with great interest.

You'll notice that the folder icon in the Units and formations Sub-forum page has turned red: this means this is officially a "hot topic".

Keep up the good work! :thumbsup:

Cheers,
Mark

#70 Liz in Eastbourne

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Posted 21 September 2010 - 09:10 AM

Thanks Mark, for the encouragement - though it's just thee and me keeping it warm at present, isn't it? Or do watchers keep a topic warm too?
Liz

#71 MBrockway

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Posted 21 September 2010 - 09:31 AM

YEAMAN/ YATEMAN I'm veering back to your original preference for Yateman - naturally, since he's on the KRRC list and Yeaman isn't

I am not very clear on Pioneer Sergeants. Someone on another thread provided a very helpful explanation about how they were men with basic practical/engineering skills but how many would there be? I know Jim Dale in A company (on the Countess photograph in the article previously mentioned) was a Pioneer Sergeant but does that mean he was the one mentioned by Dennis here? (from my previous post):
An enemy shell dropped where the RSM, the Police Sergeant and the Pioneer Sergeant and Corporal lay.
Or were there several? one for each Company? or more?
Liz

Liz,

Both Yateman and Yeaman are mentioned in the 1916 KRRC Chronicle Officer Casualty List 21/KRRC sub-section (i.e. my Source 2 - see my transcription above). That list of course covers the whole of 1916, so 2/Lt FW Yateman may have been wounded at any time after the Yeoman Rifles arrived in the line.

The extra info from Dennis seems to reinforce that it's DJ Yeaman - it certainly removes my main objection about being KiA so soon after being wounded at Flers.

The War Diary author would be familiar with all the companies in the btn, so would be familair with both officers.

Looks to me like we're now both agreeing on 2/Lt DJ Yeaman being the man in the 15 Sep WD snippet!


As regards pioneer serjeants - in the 1914 battalion establishment there was one pioneer serjeant and ten pioneers per infantry battalion attached at battalion headquarters. Some infantry battalions were roled as specialist pioneer battalions where the whole btn had pioneer training. There was generally one pioneer battalion per division.

Cheers,
Mark

#72 Liz in Eastbourne

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Posted 21 September 2010 - 08:14 PM

Yes, Mark, we are agreed on the person mentioned being Yeaman. It was quite uncanny how after you'd suggested the only way it could be him, these little snippets from Dennis turned up one by one to show that this very sequence of events had occurred!
My comment was unclear - I knew they were both mentioned in the list, but Yeaman's mention is for being KIA in October, isn't it? But we also don't know when Yateman was injured, as you say. Yeaman it is..
Thanks for the clarification re pioneer sergeants. Then that means that if Dennis refers to 'the Pioneer sergeant' it must be Jim Dale. He can't have been wounded, or not much, as he took part in Feversham's burial. I'm going to do a separate post about this.

I have another query which calls for palaeographic skills! I now think my confident remark that 'Watson' is the correct reading of the doubtful name in this line,
'Lt Sheardown took over the command of D Coy vice Capt Watson wounded' is wrong and it is actually 'Coates'. It looks more like it - I was being swayed too much by the fact that Capt R 'Patch' Watson was wounded too, and there's a fair bit about him in Dennis. But Watson was still with B Company, to judge from Dennis's comments about his death in 1917. I don't know anything about Coates apart from a single mention in Dennis, below, saying he was with C Company at the outset so that's not right either, but he does look like a possibility. What would you say that name is? To add to my confusion the officers on the KRRC list have different initials from the ones Dennis refers to, so may not even be the same men. I think we should just look at the written version and in that case I 'd suggest 'Coates'. And in that case I will edit my previous post with the War Diary transcription for 19th Sept.

I'll now add some of the other bits about officers mentioned in the War Diary, from these two books. A few others are included.
At the very outset of training at Helmsley Dennis says (pp 10 -11)

Almost all the officers who joined us at Helmsley were from the northern counties:

P. Lloyd-Graeme of Sowerby near Bridlington, RP Graham, A Howard of Sheffield and E Worsley of Hovingham were in 'A' Coy;

P Brooksbank of Tadcaster had come from Canada where he had served in the Mounties, and R Watson of Bishopsthorpe to 'B' Coy;

O. Coates, A. Eden of S. Durham, C. Thorpe of Alnwick and L. Waldy of Morpeth (Thropton) to 'C' Coy;

? Burton (Yorkshire Cricket) and G. Sheardown of Beverley to 'D' Coy.


The ? is Dennis's; this is Robert Claud[e?] Burton, who played cricket for Yorkshire. He is referred to by Eden (p 112) as being B Company Commander and wounded on Oct 7th. He's not mentioned in the War Diary for October, which Eden was keeping, but then no officer apart from Yeaman KIA is, and they didn't manage even numbers of OR. I notice your KRRC list has an RC Barton - surely this is him? The other Burton has the wrong initials. (What's a T/Capt?) I see from Wikipedia that he ended up as a housemaster at Eastbourne College.

Geoffrey Sheardown, who took over D Coy from Coates/ Watson/whoever, was regarded by Eden as 'a very tough and experienced officer' who did well at Gird Ridge.

A pause is required...

Liz
EDIT The KRRC Chronicle 1916 Officers' Casualty List does in fact say 'Capt RC Burton', not 'Barton'.
Dennis was mistaken in giving Capt 'Patch' Watson's initial as 'R'. He was A T Watson, as on the Casualty List. Dennis is clearly talking about the same man because of the nickname, his coming from Bishopthorpe, and other details.

Edited by Liz in Eastbourne, 11 June 2012 - 08:38 AM.


#73 MBrockway

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Posted 21 September 2010 - 09:30 PM

Quick reply before I go and have a close look at the war diary on the other matters ...

T/Capt is the abbreviated form of Temporary Captain.

Cheers,
Mark

#74 MBrockway

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Posted 21 September 2010 - 09:49 PM

I have another query which calls for palaeographic skills! I now think my confident remark that 'Watson' is the correct reading of the doubtful name in this line,
'Lt Sheardown took over the command of D Coy vice Capt Watson wounded' is wrong and it is actually 'Coates'. It looks more like it - I was being swayed too much by the fact that Capt R 'Patch' Watson was wounded too, and there's a fair bit about him in Dennis. But Watson was still with B Company, to judge from Dennis's comments about his death in 1917. I don't know anything about Coates apart from a single mention in Dennis, below, saying he was with C Company at the outset so that's not right either, but he does look like a possibility. What would you say that name is? To add to my confusion the officers on the KRRC list have different initials from the ones Dennis refers to, so may not even be the same men. I think we should just look at the written version and in that case I 'd suggest 'Coates'. And in that case I will edit my previous post with the War Diary transcription for 19th Sept.

Liz,
Hard to tell ...
Attached File  War Diary - 19 Sep 1916.jpg   17.89KB   1 downloads

On the whole I reckon you're probably right with Coates - there doesn't seem to be enough letters after the obvious t for it to read Watson.
Cheers,
Mark

#75 Liz in Eastbourne

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Posted 22 September 2010 - 09:38 AM

...
On the whole I reckon you're probably right with Coates - there doesn't seem to be enough letters after the obvious t for it to read Watson.
...


Yes, it's not even the right squiggle for a hurried 'son'. If you happen to find a Capt Water, though, I think he's our man! I've edited my previous post.

Now I do want to write about the death of Lord Feversham at Flers, because the story of his death and burial is very touching, we have this first-hand evidence of what happened and yet Richard Holmes' line about him (Tommy, p 627) has gained wide currency, not surprisingly as he's a popular as well as respected historian. Wikipedia's entry for Feversham quotes it (properly referenced - Wikipedia is sometimes better than published authors in this respect).The first bit, in a paragraph about the AIF cemetery at Flers, seems fair enough:

Feversham left his broad acres, a pretty countess and happy children to die leading the battalion he had raised, 21/King's Royal Rifle Force (the Yeoman Rifles to its many friends) in its first battle.
Then
Dogs were frequent visitors to the trenches and he had taken his deerhound to war: it too was killed, and was buried with him.

He did take his dog - Eden calls him a 'wolfhound' , I think it may be the same thing as a deerhound? - to the front, but I don't believe the part about him being actually taken to war (i.e. into battle), killed and buried with Feversham can be substantiated. Eden's evidence directly to the contrary can hardly be trumped - he was a participant, not just an eye-witness, as the man who looked after the dog after Feversham's death and led the burial party when Feversham's body was eventually found. There's a superscript number in the Holmes passage which makes you think he's given a reference for the information at the back, but the endnote just says:
Feversham was originally buried in a private grave outside the cemetery, and moved into it in 1945. I do not know whether his dog accompanied him, but cannot help hoping that it did.

Sentimental stuff. Feversham was a solid Yorkshire countryman, farmer, huntsman and shot, as well as an Eton and Oxford-educated 'toff', polo player and MP. The idea that he would have taken the dog into battle (not just to the front) for it to be terrified and killed with him unnecessarily really isn't very sweet, and I am glad he didn't. He'd have taken a horse if he'd still been a cavalryman because it had, or was thought to have, a role in the battle, but why the dog? No source earlier than Holmes that I've found mentions any such belief about Feversham.

Anyway, we don't need to speculate. I wish to lay out all the evidence and then I hope I can persuade someone who's used to contributing to Wikipedia to add this information, in summary. It'll have to be in instalments, starting with Feversham's death.

Eden was kept out of the battle of Flers, and records simply (p98)
Feversham was killed leading his riflemen.
Dennis was there as a signaller in C Company. I'll include a bit of the context he gives, as I would like to know if you think he was actually an eyewitness of Feversham's death or is more likely to have put this story together from different friends' accounts. Is all this in the KRRC accounts? He writes about it on p 83.
EDIT I have cut my original quote for copyright reasons, although the book is out of print and difficult to obtain:

Meanwhile the Colonel with the headquarters party had also reached the same higher ground and could see to the left the much ruined village of Flers and to the front and slightly right the village of Guerdecourt, the final objective. The men were apparently restless and disturbed by the heavy German shelling, so they began to move about to find deeper and safer shell holes, The Colonel, on seeing these movements, borrowed a blue flag from a signaller and waved it about to draw their attention. No doubt his action was seen by the enemy, perhaps from an observation post in Guerdecourt, for the result was some heavier shelling of our positions. The Colonel of the Queen's came up and discussed the position with our Colonel. Later a Brigade Major appeared and it was decided that a move should be made forward in order to capture the final objective.

The scanty remnants of two battalions drew intense machine gun fire and cannon fire and many fell amidst the standing corn. Our Colonel knelt down and, as he peered through his binoculars, he fell back dead. Signallers Baker and Gunson were wounded at the same time. The former had a very nasty wound in his neck. He was made comfortable in a shell hole which as deepened a little to give him extra protection.'

He goes on to mention several wounded officers, as previously quoted.

That's it for now,

Liz

Edited by Liz in Eastbourne, 11 June 2012 - 08:39 AM.






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