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Liz in Eastbourne

1/7 Bn Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders May 1915

27 posts in this topic

I'm hoping some kind forum member with an interest in the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders may be able to help me.

I am writing a brief biography for Major (acting Lt.Col) Derrick Alfred Carden, a professional soldier in the 2nd Bn Seaforth Highlanders who was attached to, and in command of, the 1/7th Bn Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders in the same brigade (10th) of the 4th Division from March 1915. He died of wounds 'received in action near Ypres.on 25th May' (De Ruvigny),1915, aged 40, and is buried in Hazebrouck Communal Cemetery.


I've found his MIC, and several references in The Times, but no military record survives as far as I can see and I have not yet been able to look at the battalion war diary - which if anyone has it, or a regimental history, may contain what I am looking for.


If anyone has come across any detail relating to his last few weeks I should be very interested. The battalion was at St Julien and Frezenberg in May 1915. John Buchan’s long article ‘A Soldier’s Battle’ in The Times ( 13 July) in a section headed ‘The Third Gas Attack’ refers to him leading the battalion through a cloud of gas on 2 May and capturing a German trench. I was puzzled to see his name in the officer casualty list at the end of the article on Festubert in the Long Long Trail, and think this must be an error because of the date of death.


What I am wondering is when and how he was wounded. Was the battalion at Bellewaarde? The dates are right, if in fact he did not survive long.


Liz

(Incidentally, there is a forum thread on his much older brother Henry Charles Carden, who died a few months later, aged 60, at Loos.)


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1/7th Battalion


Lieutenant-Colonel James Craig 04/08/1914 to 26/09/1914 Replaced


Colonel Douglas Beresford Malise Ronald Montrose (Graham) 27/09/1914 to 22/01/1915 Replaced


Lieutenant-Colonel Derrick Alfred Carden 08/03/1915 to 24/05/1915 Killed in action/Died of wounds


Lieutenant-Colonel James Morison Scott 24/05/1915 to 14/09/1915 Replaced


Lieutenant-Colonel James Kennedy Tullis 14/09/1915 to 09/11/1915 Replaced


Lieutenant-Colonel Henry Hugh Gordon Hyslop 09/11/1915 to 10/09/1917 Promoted


Lieutenant-Colonel Eric Cecil Hill-Whitson 10/09/1917 to 11/10/1917 Replaced


Lieutenant-Colonel James Alfred Durie 11/10/1917 to 01/01/1918 Temporary absence


Lieutenant-Colonel Stanley Robert McClintock 01/01/1918 to 27/02/1918 Transferred to another active battalion


Lieutenant-Colonel James Alfred Durie 27/02/1918 to 13/06/1918 Replaced





Killed in action/dow.


Did he have an Eastbourne connection?


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4th Battalion, the Prince of Wales's Leinster Regiment (Royal Canadians), Derrick Alfred Carden, Gent., to be Second Lieutenant. Dated 22nd February, 1893.

Made 2 Lt. From The Gazzette.

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Hi Liz

I have a copy of the Bn history compiled by Lt A.D. Morrison MC & Bar (Previously 4167 Sgt 9th HLI). These extracts are from it: -

2nd of May

"On the 2nd May the troops in the forward trenches were badly gassed and heavily shelled. Under the strain, some of them retired, leaving wide gaps in the front line.

Acting on his own initiative Colonel Carden ordered the 7th Argylls, who were in support, to fill the blanks.

There was no time for detailed instructions, nor need for them. In small parties but without hesitation, the whole remnant of the Battalion doubled forward through the gas and shelling, and spread out along the vacant trench.

No one who took part in that rush will ever forget the shouts of 'here comes the Jocks!' with which they were welcomed by the few stout-hearted defenders who had stuck to their posts.

The exploits drew the following message from General Hull. 'well done Argylls You have won your spurs today."

Mention of his Death

"On the night of the 23rd May the Battalion 'side-stepped' to the right and took over the front line on the high ground immediately East of Wieltje.

The trenches had been badly knocked about, and were, in parts, knee deep in mud. About 3 a.m. in the morning, twilight, a gas attack of greater intensity than ever before was made by the enemy. It bleached the sandbags, it withered the grass, it corroded the buttons on the men's tunics and jammed the mechanism of the rifles.

The shelling that followed beat down the crumbling earthworks. Gas and shell-fire between them, took a tremendous toll. At intervals throughout the day the shelling was renewed.

At intervals throughout the day, the shelling was renewed. Colonel Carden, the Commanding Officer and Major King, the second in Command were mortally wounded, and before night 19 Officers out of the action had become casualties."

The passage above makes it clear he was "mortally wounded" on the 24th, the legend under his photo states "Died of Wounds 24:5:15", it says the Bn was "East of Wieltje" which is about 4km North of Bellewaerde

There are some photo's of Lt Col Carden, a head and shoulders shot in civvis, one of him raising "3 cheers for Brig Gen Hull" after a football competition 20th April 1915 and another of him seated in a trench reading titled "Canal Bank, Ypres, 24th May 1915".

One more thing that might interest you is that it also states during January and February they were instructed in trench warfare by the 2nd Seaforths, Lt Col Cardens parent Regt.

Sam

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Did he have an Eastbourne connection?

Yes, how did you guess! I only became interested in the war when I came to Eastbourne, because nearly all the prosperous Victorians I started looking into for local history purposes had children who ended up in the war, and then of course there were so many schools. Carden's name is on the Ascham St Vincent's Memorial Arch in Eastbourne, commemorating the prep school's casualties in WW1 I have discovered he was an early pupil at St Vincent's, whose headmaster had come to Eastbourne in January 1886 from St George's Ascot, where he had taught Winston Churchill. The school was merged with another one, Ascham, in 1908.

Thanks for your information. I did find that Gazette entry but couldn't find any mention of his acting rank of Lt.Col. there. His promotion to Major was gazetted in the supplement to the Gazette of 21 May 1915.

Liz

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Sam

Thank you so much for this very useful information - it is just what I need to fill the gaps in my account. I have one photo of him - sounds like the head and shoulders one you mention - kindly found for me by Old Owl of this forum, but not the other two, which I'd love to see, though it's probable we'll only have room for one picture.

I like the account of 2 May and the detail about the effects of gas on 23 May is very evocative. It sounds as if he was killed by a shell rather than gas, doesn't it?

Yes, it is also very interesting to know that he had previously been instructing them in trench warfare so he didn't just get to know them in March but from the time when the battalion joined the brigade, on arrival in France.

Terrific. I am very grateful and add you to the long list of forum pals whose help has been so important in trying to give proper recognition to a very disparate group of 51 men.

Liz

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Liz,

His transfer from 2nd Seaforths to 7th A & S H is recorded in the War Diary of the 2nd Seaforths on "11.3.15" (attached).

Tom.

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Thank you, Tom, that's useful. Confirmation from the horse's mouth.

Pushing my luck somewhat, have you the diary for 1914? Can you tell me how he was wounded on the Aisne in September 1914?

Liz

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I'll have to load my 'snippets' in a couple of posts - he is mentioned as being wounded in the Action on 24 May 1915 at WIELTJE.

First, he was wounded in the hand on 21 Sep 1914.

Tom.

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Next, he rejoined his Battalion on 23rd Dec 1914.

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He is mentioned in the Report of the Action at WIELTJE on 24 May, 1915:


... and the following page:

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I'll have to load my 'snippets' in a couple of posts - he is mentioned as being wounded in the Action on 24 May 1915 at WIELTJE.

First, he was wounded in the hand on 21 Sep 1914.

Tom.

This is very generous of you, Tom, many thanks. I wasn't expecting the 2nd Seaforths WD also to mention his being wounded at Wieltje, but of course they were all in roughly the same position and he was one of theirs. It complements the 7th Argyll & Sutherland regimental history Sam has quoted.

And with transcriptions too - much appreciated.

Liz

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I wasn't expecting the 2nd Seaforths WD also to mention his being wounded at Wieltje, but of course they were all in roughly the same position and he was one of theirs. It complements the 7th Argyll & Sutherland regimental history Sam has quoted.

And with transcriptions too - much appreciated.

Liz

The 2nd Bn Seaforths and the 1/7th Bn A&SH were both in the 10th Infantry Brigade at the time and it is very likely why Carden was posted to the 1/7th Bn A&SH - as he was immediately available, he was a regular, he had hard battle experience and he was from a Scottish battalion.

Of the 26 Officers of the 2nd Bn Seaforth Highlanders who disembarked in Aug 1914, only five remained at the end of Feb 1915 - just prior to Carden's posting. Of the Officers in the battalion Carden was the third most senior after the CO and the 2IC and of the five 'originals' still with the battalion he was the most senior by 10 years. It is interesting to ponder why the 2nd Bn Seaforth's 2IC Maj Arbuthnot was not given the job of commanding the 1/7th A&SH. The 1/7th Bn A&SH war diary is worth reading as there are some interesting details mentioning Carden such as the action on 24th-25th May 1915 when the battalion suffered terribly. There are first hand accounts by two officers - McCracken and Scott that describe the action.

Shortly after the battalion was amalgamated with the 1/9th Bn A&SH for two months.

MG

Ref WO 95/1481

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Liz in Eastbourne, on 06 Jan 2015 - 4:03 PM, said:

This is very generous of you, Tom, many thanks. I wasn't expecting the 2nd Seaforths WD also to mention his being wounded at Wieltje, but of course they were all in roughly the same position and he was one of theirs. It complements the 7th Argyll & Sutherland regimental history Sam has quoted.

And with transcriptions too - much appreciated.

Liz

Thanks Liz.

My great uncle L/Cpl 8669 Richard Telfer served with the 2nd Seaforths and was awarded the Military Medal for 'actions' on 25.4.15 and 2.5.15.

He enlisted on 11 Jan 1904 and was invalided out on 31 Mar 1917, having served 13 years and 80 days with the Colours.

He emigrated to Australia on 15 May 1922 with his wife and family. He died in 1966 aged 80.

So my interest in the 2nd Seaforths is personal, and I'm sure that my uncle must have met Lt Col Carden at some point.

Kindest Regards,

Tom.

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The 2nd Bn Seaforths and the 1/7th Bn A&SH were both in the 10th Infantry Brigade at the time and it is very likely why Carden was posted to the 1/7th Bn A&SH - as he was immediately available, he was a regular, he had hard battle experience and he was from a Scottish battalion.

...

Yes, Sam pointed out that the 2/Seaforths were also involved in training the 7/A&S during Jan and Feb 1915.

...

Of the 26 Officers of the 2nd Bn Seaforth Highlanders who disembarked in Aug 1914, only five remained at the end of Feb 1915 - just prior to Carden's posting. Of the Officers in the battalion Carden was the third most senior after the CO and the 2IC and of the five 'originals' still with the battalion he was the most senior by 10 years. It is interesting to ponder why the 2nd Bn Seaforth's 2IC Maj Arbuthnot was not given the job of commanding the 1/7th A&SH. The 1/7th Bn A&SH war diary is worth reading as there are some interesting details mentioning Carden such as the action on 24th-25th May 1915 when the battalion suffered terribly. There are first hand accounts by two officers - McCracken and Scott that describe the action.

Shortly after the battalion was amalgamated with the 1/9th Bn A&SH for two months.

MG

Ref WO 95/1481

That's interesting, Martin, thanks.

I will try to look at the War Diary to double-check events Carden was involved in (I can't afford to pay for the large number involved with so many short biographies but I will be going to Kew again soon). I think the accounts Sam has posted above from the regimental history will be very useful for my purposes and is attractively atmospheric - I am rather emphasising the 'human interest' side as this will be for general readers - so I hope to use extracts from them. I'm sure the first-hand accounts you mention would be good for this as well.

Liz

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Thanks Liz.

My great uncle L/Cpl 8669 Richard Telfer served with the 2nd Seaforths and was awarded the Military Medal for 'actions' on 25.4.15 and 2.5.15.

He enlisted on 11 Jan 1904 and was invalided out on 31 Mar 1917, having served 13 years and 80 days with the Colours.

He emigrated to Australia on 15 May 1922 with his wife and family. He died in 1966 aged 80.

So my interest in the 2nd Seaforths is personal, and I'm sure that my uncle must have met Lt Col Carden at some point.

Kindest Regards,

Tom.

Too late to ask him, alas, but yes, he's bound to have done. He must have seen some awful things. Just reading French's eighth despatch on those days, with constant gas attacks and inadequate protection, as well as bombardment, is quite appalling.

Thanks, Tom.

Liz

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I have a copy of the Bn history compiled by Lt A.D. Morrison MC & Bar (Previously 4167 Sgt 9th HLI). These extracts are from it: -

I took delivery of a copy of this splendid little volume yesterday (from that well-known Brighton address). I bought it because, TF Battalions of the Argylls not being a speciality of mine, the battalion recruited in the area my younger daughter's partner hails from. Imagine my pleasure when I saw that the book was published and printed in Alva, the very town she comes from. In fact I was so delighted with the purchase that I am tempted to tell Mrs Broomfield about it.

It seriously is a wonderful-looking volume; I can't wait to have a chance for a really good browse.

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I took delivery of a copy of this splendid little volume yesterday (from that well-known Brighton address). I bought it because, TF Battalions of the Argylls not being a speciality of mine, the battalion recruited in the area my younger daughter's partner hails from. Imagine my pleasure when I saw that the book was published and printed in Alva, the very town she comes from. In fact I was so delighted with the purchase that I am tempted to tell Mrs Broomfield about it.

It seriously is a wonderful-looking volume; I can't wait to have a chance for a really good browse.

You'll be in full highland dress soon!

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It seriously is a wonderful-looking volume; I can't wait to have a chance for a really good browse.

It's a good read Steve, I inherited mine from my Uncle, he was given it by the Colonel in Chief of the Argyll's in 1978 when he was researching his Uncle, my GT Uncle Duncan (in my signature)

Duncan is why I'm on here, my Gran (his Sister) spoke about him every Remembrance Sunday when I was a child and that started my passion in later life when the net made it easier.

Sam

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You'll be in full highland dress soon!

:whistle:

It's a good read Steve, I inherited mine from my Uncle, he was given it by the Colonel in Chief of the Argyll's in 1978 when he was researching his Uncle, my GT Uncle Duncan (in my signature)

Duncan is why I'm on here, my Gran (his Sister) spoke about him every Remembrance Sunday when I was a child and that started my passion in later life when the net made it easier.

Sam

I'm only sorry that Harriet and Rachel returned to Edinburgh yesterday as it means I'll have to wait to see if Rachel recognises any names in it - I assume there must be families still in the town.

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It does seem to be an excellent little book and I am hugely grateful to Sam for scanning relevant pages and sending them to me.

I just want to add to this thread that I have been contacted by a new member who has Carden's pre-war medals and some interesting documents. It occurs to me that I should cross-reference another thread I started about one of his pre-war medals, even though it relates to the Seaforths, not the Argylls:

http://1914-1918.invisionzone.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=222999

I'll tag this thread for the Seaforths as well, since it has a fair amount relating to them.

Liz

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For Liz at Eastbourne: would love to contact you about Lieutenant-Colonel Derrick Carden.  I may have a family connection.  Colin Thubron (thubron@hotmail.com)

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Colin

Sorry I missed this post because my following this thread had got lost in the last forum upgrade so I didn't receive an alert - but fortunately you've been in touch off the forum (the advantage of using a trackable forum name). 

 

Liz

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Liz,

Thank you for responding.  I hope we can correspond by letter or telephone.  I'll wait to hear from you.  And I'd love to buy your biography if it's available.

              With best wishes,

                        Colin

 

 

 

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I wonder if I might 'butt in' on this post as the custodian of the Silver War Badge of Capt John Murdoch MC, who was wounded with the 7th Argylls (as its medical officer) on 24th May 1915 having, until the 3rd March that year, held a commission in the Battalion (starting his military career with the 8th Volunteer Battalion Royal Scots in 1905).  His MC was gazetted on 14th January 1916 to him as a RAMC captain presumably, therefore, for an act of gallantry performed as the Battalion's MO between 4th March and 24th May 1915.  Does the regimental history give any clues as to the circumstances of the award, as there is no citation in the London Gazette.  I should also be interested to know what appointment he held (as a captain) in the Battalion when it went overseas in mid-December 1914, should this be recorded.     

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