In memory of those who died this day during the Great War

  • 1916 282555 George Gordon De Laney, Infantry
    Buried at St Mary Churchyard, Bramshott, Hampshire
  • 1916 724248 John James Fitzgerald, Infantry
    Buried at St Joseph RC Church, Grayshott, Hampshire
  • 1916 135170 Harry Reginald Jackson, Infantry
    Buried at Lawns Wood Cem, Leeds, Yorkshire
  • 1916 136366 Thomas Munro Niven, Engineers
    Buried at Craighton Cemetery, Glasgow, Glasgow
  • 1916 331888 William Rudland Wells, Field Artillery
    Buried at Milford Cem, Witley, Surrey
  • 1917 490290 John Albert Drake, Railway Troops
    Buried at Cemetery, Brighouse, Yorkshire
  • 1917 722087 Henry George Giles, Labour Corps
    Buried at Efford Cemetery, Plymouth, Devon
  • 1917 886428 Harry Hoye Knutson, Infantry
    Buried at Cemetery, Norwich, Norfolk
  • 1919 2499367 Christopher Connery, Forestry Corps
    Buried at St Patrick RC Cem, Leytonstone, Essex
  1. They Shall Not Grow Old Trailer (http://vca.newsreplublic.net/s/MjfdpF)

     

    Peter Jackson’s first movie in four years is the World War I documentary They Shall Not Grow Old, and the first trailer is breathtaking. Jackson and his team took 100-year old black and white footage, transforming it into color, highlighting details that have never been seen before. The trailer shows off the difference between the gritty old footage and the work that he and his team put into showing WWI like it has never been shown before, and the comparisons are amazing.

    They Shall Not Grow Old aims to show the human face of WWI by using state of the art technology to restore the original archival footage. Peter Jackson wanted the men who fought in the war to tell their story in a way that has never been seen before, and it appears that he has accomplished that goal. Jackson has had a long fascination with the First World War and he set out to tell the story of the everyday life of the soldiers who fought to show the great sacrifices that were made in a new era of weapons and technology.

    Peter Jackson spent months immersed in the BBC and Imperial War Museums’ archives, which later turned into narratives and strategies on how to make They Shall Not Grow Old and how to craft the storyline. Jackson used the voices of the men involved and the film shows the grim realities of war on the front line as well as the soldier’s attitudes towards the conflict. The film also goes into how they ate, slept, formed friendships, and even how they spent their time away from the frontlines and trenches.

    Peter Jackson and his team have used cutting edge techniques to make the images in They Shall Not Grow Old from one hundred years ago appear as if they were shot in modern times. Even by just looking at the trailer, it’s evident that they have done something special with the footage, that is unlike anything anybody has ever seen from WWI. The implications for what can be done with newer footage from World War II are even larger, which can’t be too far off at this point in time. However, taking footage that is that old and restoring it, was not an easy task. Jackson had this to say.

    “I wanted to reach through the fog of time and pull these men into the modern world, so they can regain their humanity once more – rather than be seen only as Charlie Chaplin-type figures in the vintage archive film. By using our computing power to erase the technical limitations of 100 year cinema, we can see and hear the Great War as they experienced it.”

    They Shall Not Grow Old investigates the “hopes and fears of the veterans, the humility and humanity that represented a generation changed forever by a global war,” according to Peter Jackson. The film is set to premiere on October 16th in the U.K. with a special Q&A with Jackson and then opens to European theaters. Unfortunately, there are no dates scheduled for a North American premiere as of this writing. Until then, you can watch the trailer for They Shall Not Grow Old below, thanks to the Trafalgar Releasing YouTube channel.

  2. Private Frederick Thomas Ludeman

    Private #71819 Frederick Thomas Ludeman was born on 11th January 1890 at 11 Richard Street, St George’s in the East, London. His parents, Peter Henry and Matilda Ludeman, had two other sons and a daughter. Their family home was at 22 Jamaica Street in Stepney, a district in the East End of London.

    Frederick enlisted at Winnipeg in Manitoba on 24th October 1914 and served with 27th Bn Canadian Infantry – Manitoba Regiment.

    Admitted on 21st September 1916, he died from gas poisoning and gas gangrene in the City of London War Hospital at Epsom, Surrey on 23rd September 1916. His body was brought home and buried a few days later in the City of London & Tower Hamlets cemetery at Mile End in the East End of London.

    Photograph of Frederick’s unmarked grave taken by Far From Home (2015)

    This photograph is of the unmarked burial place for Frederick, who was buried in a ‘common’ grave with 9 others who were all unrelated to each other. Although it would be an unthinkable situation nowadays, the practice was widely accepted amongst families in economically deprived communities in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century.

    The Commonwealth War Graves Commission has erected a Memorial Wall at the cemetery. Including Frederick, it displays the names of all the Great War casualties who are buried there in unmarked graves. Staff Sergeant Joseph Palles Clark is the second WW1 Canadian buried in the cemetery. But, his name has yet to be added to the Memorial Wall as Far From Home were only able to confirm his final resting place during 2015. Previously, he was on the original Brookwood 1914 – 1918 Memorial Wall as his burial place was ‘Unknown’.

    Photograph of the Memorial Wall taken by Far From Home (2015)

    Traditionally, the London Borough of Tower Hamlets always was and still is an ethnically diverse area of east London. Frederick’s paternal grandfather (Heinrich ‘Henry’ Ludeman) was born at Bremen in Germany around 1831 and arrived in London about 1850. He was employed as a Journeyman sugar refiner in the district’s thriving sugar baking industry, which heavily relied on the expertise of expatriate Germans. Although born in London, Frederick’s paternal grandmother (Isabella De Var) came from Dutch heritage.

     

    Wikepedia

    Fredrick’s brother (Peter, died in 1911 at Mile End Old Town) and mother (Matilda, died in 1940 at Stepney) are also buried in City of London & Tower Hamlets cemetery. His father died at Romford in Essex between January and March 1917 but was not interred in the same cemetery his two sons.

  3. John Smith or Charles Frederick Brown – our Eight year search continues

    The new Brookwood Wall – November 2017

    Canadian soldier Pte #1084382 John Smith is one of the names on the 1914-1918 Memorial at Brookwood Military Cemetery in Surrey. He was born on 15th February 1896 and died aged 24 from Pulmonary Tuberculosis 98 years ago today, on 23rd September 1920. John gave his occupation as Farmer at Attestation. Since 2004, his name has been commemorated at Brookwood because the Commonwealth War Graves Commission lists his place of burial as ’Unknown’.

    His military file at the Library & Archives in Ottawa gives very sparse information about him, other than it records he was ‘struck off strength’ on 21st July 1919. John declared that he wished to be discharged in England and would be living with his sister Mrs E Brown at Sibton in Suffolk.

    Far From Home has researched John Smith for over 8 years and found no trace of him. The General Record Office have been unable to find a death certificate for him. So, we formed a theory that he had adopted the name of ‘John Smith’ for some reason to disguise his true identity.

    Just a few days ago, we came across a ‘Veterans Death Card; First World War’ for John Smith, which is kept separately at Ottawa to his LAC soldier file. The index card has opened up our investigation and enabled us to explore new leads. Crucially, it gave his place of death as 214a Cambridge Road at Bethnal Green. The address was a former workhouse which became a WW1 hospital known as the ‘Bethnal Green Hospital’.

    Library & Archives, Canada

     

    https://ezitis.myzen.co.uk/bethnalgreen.html

    A fellow researcher in Suffolk had been working with us on this case and came up with some startling information. She had traced his ‘sister’ (Mrs E Brown) from Sibton, who we now believe to be the mother of ‘John Smith’.

    Further research confirmed that Ellen Brown had given birth to a son Charles Frederick Brown on 15th February 1896, the same birth date that ‘John Smith’ had given at Attestation. Ellen Abbott had married David Brown in 1881.

    Pte #294780 Charles Brown enlisted into the Canadian Infantry in December 1916 and briefly served with the 223rd Overseas Battalion. His record shows that he became a deserter and was ‘struck off strength’ just five months later, in April 1917. There is no further record of him.

    However, the record for ‘John Smith’ shows that he enlisted into the 251st Battalion Canadian Infantry on 6th April 1917 and gave his birthplace as Liverpool, stating his occupation to be ‘Farmer’. He also declared what now appears to be false information for his parents’ names and their address. As part of our investigation, the Liverpool Council advised us they could find no trace of either his supposed ‘parents’ (Mr & Mrs George Smith). In addition, they confirmed that the address given for them had never existed in Liverpool.

    We are now researching the theory that Charles Frederick Brown and ‘John Smith’ are one and the same person. Having deserted from the army prior to April 1917, we believe Charles was fearful of being caught and possibly subject to the harshest possible military discipline. By enlisting back into the military but under an assumed name, Charles saw it as his best protection, being able ‘hide in plain sight’. This strategy was not unusual during WW1. During our search to locate all of the 3902 Canadian casualties for our Far From Home project, we have identified several men who also served under alternative names for many different reasons.

    The record for Charles Frederick Brown shows he died of Pulmonary Tuberculosis aged 24 on 23rd September 1920 at 214a Cambridge Road at Bethnal Green, the ‘Bethnal Green Hospital’. His occupation is given “a Farm Labourer (Ex Army)”. The informant was N Brown “Widow of deceased”. We now know he married Nellie Thorn in Suffolk between April and June 1919. Subsequently, they lived in 93 Quinn’s Square at Bethnal Green which was an extremely poor area.

    So, ‘John Smith’ and Charles Frederick Brown both died aged 24 on the same day at an identical address, from the same condition and were ex-soldiers.

    Our aim now to locate and confirm where Charles Fredrick Brown was finally laid to rest. We believe that he is in a cemetery or churchyard fairly close to where he died at Bethnal Green in east London. When found, the information will be forwarded onto the CWGC, who will be able to arrange the installation of a suitable memorial for him.

    As his Pulmonary Tuberculosis arose from military service, Charles is a war veteran and deserves to be commemorated as such in his true name.

    If anyone is able to help track down his grave location, please contact us via this site as any help will be gratefully acknowledged.

  4. Canadian Soldier Drowned at Sea after U boat Attack

    One hundred years ago today, 23rd September 1918, the body of Pte # 529605 Joseph Ewart Moore was washed ashore onto the beach at Rocken End on the Isle of Wight.

    Rocken End, Isle of Wight.

    Joseph was born at Burnley, Lancashire on 24th June 1878 and emigrated to Canada, enlisting into the Army on 18th August 1915 at Sewell Camp, Manitoba. He gave his occupation as Insurance Agent at Attestation.

    Serving with the Canadian Army Medical Corps in June 1918, he was aboard the hospital ship HMHS Llandovery Castle during its fateful crossing of the Atlantic Ocean from Halifax, Nova Scotia to Liverpool, Lancashire.

    Ship pic http://www.ssmaritime.co116 miles off the southwest coast of Ireland m/Llan-Castle-Ships.htm

    When the Llandovery Castle was 116 miles off the southwest coast of Ireland at a point off Fastnet, it was struck by a torpedo from German U-boat U-86 around 21.30 hours.

    Despite orders to leave hospital ships alone, the U-boat’s Captain, Helmut Patzig, ‘was of the opinion, founded on various information (including some from official sources, the accuracy of which cannot be verified)” – that hospital ships were being surreptitiously used to transport troops and munitions.4 He asserted that he “had sunk the ship because she was carrying American aviation officers and others in the fighting service of the allies.’ (http://danieldemers.com/SINKING-THE-LLANDOVERY-CASTLE.)

    The ship was carrying a total of 258 people, comprising the crew alongside 80 officers, nurses and men of the Canadian Medical Corps. At the time, she was displaying an illuminated Red Cross sign and could never have been mistaken for anything other than a hospital ship. It had already made four round trips across the Atlantic without incident.

    The Llandovery Castle sank within 10 minutes of being struck but a number of lifeboats were successfully launched.

    Then, the U-boat Captain proceeded to commit one of the worst atrocities of the Great War. Patzig ordered that the lifeboats be repeatedly rammed in an attempt to kill all the witnesses. Only one lifeboat carrying 24 survivors including the Captain manged to escape. They were rescued by the destroyer HMS Lysander.

    Private Moore died that night, leaving behind his grieving wife Louisa, three sons and four daughters in Canada. In total, 234 persons died following the sinking of Llandovery Castle.

    Pte Moore’s body was found three months later and buried within a few days at a beautiful, quiet and rural churchyard in the village of Niton, on the southern point of the Isle of Wight.

    On 21 July 1921 at Leipzig, Lt Dithmar and Lt Boldt were convicted of ‘war crimes’ arising from the sinking of the Llandovery Castle and sentenced to 4 years in prison. Later, they were acquitted at a Court of Appeal on the grounds Capt Patzig was solely responsible for the deaths. As he had fled the country and successfully avoided extradition proceedings, Patzig was never brought to trial.

    St John The Baptist Church, Niton, Isle of Wight.(Photo: FFH authors)

      ( Photo: FFH authors)

    Ancestry.co.uk

    Victory Bonds Will Help Stop This Kultur Vs. Humanity (Art.IWM PST 12375) whole: the image covers the whole, with the title integrated and positioned in the upper third, and the subtitle
    integrated and positioned across the bottom, both in light blue.
    image: a Canadian soldier supports the lifeless body of a nurse as he swims amongst the wreckage of HMHS Llandovery Castle. In the
    background the U-boat that sunk the ship has surfaced, and two German sailors stand on the … Copyright: © IWM. Original Source: http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/30965

     

     

  5. Found at last in 2018! Three ‘Missing’ Canadian graves

    During June 2018, the Commonwealth War Graves Commission in Ottawa transferred the files for three casualties to the CWGC in the United Kingdom. It was believed the men had died in the UK and arrangements were put in hand to add their names to:

    Brookwood 1914 – 1918 Memorial

    (from the Canadian Book of Remembrance)

    as their place of burial was considered to be ‘Unknown’.

    The Far From Home project found the burial place of the first casualty in July 2018 (see our blog of 26 July this year):

     

    Donoghue, Arthur James

    #642, Sapper, Canadian Engineers

    Date & Place of Birth: 14 December 1887 at Wick, Caithness, Scotland

    Date of Death: Friday 04 March 1921 at 4 Albion Crescent, Weymouth, Dorset, England

    Place of Burial: Melcombe Regis Cemetery, Dorset, England

    Sapper Donoghue is already listed at Melcombe Regis cemetery on the CWGC website.

    We have now solved the second and third ‘cases’ within the last seven days and are progressing the necessary paperwork for the CWGC in Maidenhead. Far From Home is delighted to share the final resting place for these two brave British born men who served with the Canadian forces during the Great War.

     MacDonald, Daniel

    Birth registered as: MacDonald, Donald

    #VR/5433, Leading Seaman, Royal Naval Canadian Volunteer Reserve

    Date & Place of Birth: 06 June 1888 at Cluir, South Harris, Western Isles, Scotland

    Served on: HMCS Niobe

    Date of Death: 29 October 1919 at Knightswood Hospital, Glasgow, Renfrewshire, Scotland

    Death registered as: McDonald, Daniel

    Place of Burial: Luskentyre Cemetery, South Harris, Western Isles, Scotland

     

    Hobbs, Henry Thomas

    #504493, Sapper, Canadian Engineers

    Date & Place of Birth: 29 April 1882 at Battersea, London, England

    Date of Death: Monday 08 August 1921 at 32 Lots Road, Chelsea, London, England

    Cause of Death: Aortic valvular disease of heart (4 years)

    Place of Burial: North Sheen Cemetery (aka Fulham New Cemetery)

    Lower Richmond Road, Richmond, Surrey

    Plot Reference: BC 397

     

    May all three men now rest in peace.

     

  6. Two Canadian Soldiers On Leave Killed in Air Raid over London

    On 4th September 1917, eleven Gotha bombers set off to bomb London but only five reached their target, as two turned back with mechanical issues and four settled for alternative targets in south east England.

    # 602944 Sergeant Bartley Gibson Lumley and # 602952 Private Albert Henry Bond were on leave from the frontlines. Both men were born in Ontario and had each attested as a Volunteer on 18th August 1915. They were staying in Agar Street close to Trafalgar Square, opposite the original Charing Cross Hospital.

     

     Agar Street, London

    Both men were killed instantly by a direct ‘hit’ on their hotel, which also claimed the life of a civilian and injured five other persons. Another bomb severely damaged the nearby Little Theatre which had been taken into use as a Canadian YMCA canteen. A third bomb killed a tram driver, two passengers and injured nine others on the Embankment of the River Thames close to Cleopatra’s Needle.

    In total, the five Gotha bombers killed nineteen people, injured seventy one and caused widespread damage across a wide swathe of north east, east and south east London.

    Bartley Lumley was born on 13th September 1888 at Iona, unmarried and a Railway Employee. Albert Bond was born on 21st May 1895 at Woodstock, married and a Brick Maker by trade. They were serving with 2nd Bn Canadian Infantry and 3rd Bn Canadian Infantry respectively. Both men are buried at Brookwood Military Cemetery in Surrey.

    http://www.veterans.gc.ca/eng/remembrance/memorials/canadian-virtual-war-memorial/detail/399440?Bartley%20Gibson%20Lumley

     

     

  7. Five Canadians Die in Chatham Air Raid

    At 21.30 on 3rd September 1917, five Gotha bombers took off from their base in Belgium but one of them was forced to turn back with mechanical problems. The remaining four aircraft reached the River Medway in Kent by about 23.00. One of the ‘Medway Towns’, Chatham was totally unprepared for the impending night time onslaught. Fully illuminated, there was no ‘blackout’ in place and the anti-aircraft guns were unready to defend the town.

    The four Gotha aircraft dropped a total over 46 bombs on Chatham and nearby Gillingham, another ‘Medway Town’. A part of the Royal Navy shore establishment and barracks known as ‘HMS Pembroke’, some of the bombs hit the barracks Drill Hall and stopped the clock on its tower at 23.12.

    The barracks accommodation blocks were insufficient to accommodate all the men on-site at for two unforeseen reasons. The crew designated for ‘HMS Vanguard’ were still ashore, as the dreadnaught battleship sank after an explosion on 9th July 1917 with the loss of all but two of the 845 men on board at Scapa Flow off the Isle of Orkney. There had also been an outbreak of Cerebro-spinal meningitis which required isolation facilities for the affected patients.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HMS_Vanguard_(1909)

    The Drill Hall had been pressed into service as a temporary barracks for approximately 900 naval ratings. Due to the late hour, many of the sailors were either already asleep or at rest in their hammocks. A bronze plaque unveiled on the sit on 10th September 2006 records:

    THIS PLAQUE COMMEMORATES THE LOSS

    OF THE LIVES OF SOME 130 ROYAL NAVY

    RATINGS WHEN, AS THE DRILL HALL OF

    RN BARRACKS CHATHAM, HMS PEMBROKE

    ENEMY BOMBS WERE DROPPED ON THIS

    BUILDING DURING THE NIGHT OF

    3 SEPTEMBER 1917

    UNVEILED BY REAR ADMIRAL PHILIP WILCOCKS DSC

    AND REDEDICATED ON 10 SEPTEMBER 2006

    Officers and men toiled late into the following afternoon looking for survivors who were then transported to a local hospital. The dead were moved to a temporary mortuary.

    There were 5 Canadian sailors among the dead who were carried to the Woodlands Cemetery at Gillingham on 6th September 1917. The funeral cortege of eighteen Union Jack draped lorries each carried six coffins through streets lined with thousands of civilians.

    We remember the five men who were buried that day:

    Newfoundland Royal Naval Reserve

    # 2222/X Albert Cluett, aged 21

    # 2226/X Francis Thomas Crocker, aged 20

    # 2266/X Thomas Ginn, aged 22

    # 1582/X Nathaniel Gooby, aged 19

    Royal Naval Canadian Volunteer Reserve

    # VR/3412 Knight Cooke, aged 24

    Photo Albert Cluett

     

    Photo: Thomas Ginn

    http://www.veterans.gc.ca/eng/remembrance/memorials/canadian-virtual-war-memorial/detail/3056687?Thomas%20Ginn

    Report on the burial procession on Thursday 6th September 1917

    Chatham, Rochester and Gillingham Observer 8th September 1917

     

     

     

  8. Looking for your help please!

    We are seeking confirmation that L/Cpl Thomas Owen Davies was buried in St Cadfarch Church, Penegoes, Wales.  As the Church burial registers are apparently missing, we are unable to provide the Commonwealth War Graves Commission with tangible proof that this man was laid to rest here with his parents.

    Thomas was born on 14 April 1891 at the School House in Penegoes near Machynlleth, Montgomeryshire (now in the county of Powys). He was the only child of Owen (an insurance agent) and Mary Anne Davies (née Hurley). Subsequently, the family moved to Maengwyn Street at Machynlleth and later lived in Bridge Street at Aberystwyth, Cardiganshire (now in Ceredigion).

    According to the Census of Great Britain in 1911, Thomas was still living with his parents and was employed as a Clerk on the railway. His father is recorded as being an Insurance Superintendent. Shortly afterwards, Thomas emigrated to Canada.

    He volunteered to join the Canadian Army at New Westminster in British Columbia on 7th April 1915. He gave 14th February 1893 as a date of birth and listed ‘Janitor’ for his occupation. Initially # 428278 Private Davies, he was promoted to Lance Corporal Davies on 8th December 1916. Thomas served with 47th Bn and later 7th Bn Canadian Infantry, seeing active service at both Ypres and Vimy Ridge. He was recommended for a DCM but it has not been possible to establish whether he actually received the award.

    The Distinguished Conduct Medal

    As the second level military decoration, the DCM was awarded to non-commissioned personnel including Commonwealth troops.

    It was awarded to ‘other ranks’ for “Gallantry in the field”

    He was admitted to hospital on 7th March 1917, diagnosed with endocarditis at Seaford in Sussex during April 1917 and repatriated to Canada on 16th July 1917. After hospitalisation with severe bronchitis and pulmonary tuberculosis in British Columbia, Thomas was eventually discharged from the army on 8th July 1918 “being physically unfit for further duty”.

    Thomas returned to Wales and worked as an insurance agent until his death on 1st March 1921 at Garden Village in Machynlleth. He is buried in St Cadfarch churchyard at Penegoes with his father and mother.

    Their family headstone reads as follows:

    “Er Serchus Gof am Owen Davies, Tregerddi, Machynlleth, yr hwn a fu farw Ion. 6, 1920, yn 62 ml. oed … hefyd am ei anwyl fab Thomas Owen Davies D.C.M., gwasanaethodd gydar Canadians yn y Rhyfel Mawr, a bu farw Mawrth 1, 1921, yn 29 ml. oed … ac am Mary Ann Davies (annwyl Briod Owen Davies) yr hon a hunodd yn dawel Medi 15fed 1940, yn 78 mlwydd oed … “.

    which has been translated as follows:

    “In loving memory of Owen Davies, Garden Village, Machynlleth, who died 6th January, 1920, aged 62 years … also his beloved son Thomas Owen Davies D.C.M., who served with the Canadians in the Great War and died 1st March, 1921, aged 29 years … and Mary Ann Davies (beloved wife of Owen Davies) who died peacefully on 15th September, 1940, aged 78 years … “.

    St Cadfarch church has now closed a place of worship and is administered by the Cadfarch Community Council. Unfortunately, the Burial Register for St Cadfarch can not be located. Therefore, it is impossible to produce documentary proof that all three members of the Davies family are actually buried in the churchyard.

    As the next best alternative, a photograph of the headstone will provide a substantial record of their burial.

    Ideally, the following three photographs would be of enormous benefit:

    #1. a general view of the section in the churchyard where the grave is located.

    #2. the headstone itself.

    #3. the section of the headstone which clearly shows Thomas’s details.

    In addition, a hand drawn sketch of the churchyard and an indication of where the Davies family grave is situated would be of great benefit. It does not need to be to scale!

    Currently, in the absence of any tangible record for St Cadfarch, the Commonwealth War Graves Commission is proposing to display L/Cpl Thomas Owen Davies on the 1914 – 1918 Memorial Wall at Brookwood in Surrey, which now lists the names of 351 Great War casualties for whom a final resting place is ‘Unknown’.

    Therefore, it is imperative L/Cpl Davies is correctly commemorated in St Cadfarch churchyard at Penegoes.

     

  9. German Aerial Power

    German Aerial Power

    It is widely accepted that the first recorded air raid on Great Britain happened on 21st December 1914. A Friedrichshafen FF.29 German lightweight two-seat floatplane manufactured by Flugzeugbau Friedrichshafen harmlessly dropped two bombs into the sea near the Admiralty Pier at Dover in Kent. Ironically, Louis Bleriot had landed at Northfall Meadows near Dover Castle on 25 July 1909 after the first ever airplane flight across the English Channel, a journey lasting 36 minutes 30 seconds.

    The fragile and highly inflammable Zeppelin was the primary aircraft used for bombing by both the German army and navy in the early war years. Initially, the Kaiser was reluctant to authorise bombing raids on London in case any of his relatives in the British Royal Family might be killed or injured. Eventually, he signed an Imperial decree on 12th February 1915 which permitted the strategic bombing of the London docks. The German General Staff interpretation permitting the bombing of targets to the east of Charing Cross (from which point all distances in London are still measured) was finally signed off by the Kaiser on 5th May 1915.

    After a number of previous usually weather-related false starts, Zeppelin LZ 38 finally completed the first ever air raid over London on 30th May 1915. It dropped about 120 incendiary bombs, each one weighed 25lb (11kg) and contained Thermite, killing seven people and injuring 35 others in east London. After the raid, a ‘D Notice’ was issued which limited the Press to reporting only information contained in official statements about any subsequent air raids.

    As the war progressed, the Zeppelin fleet was augmented by the Gotha G V heavy bomber manufactured by Gothaer Waggonfabrik AG and flown by the Imperial German Air Service from August 1917 onwards. It was designed as a long-range aircraft and primarily deployed to operate at night.

    On 25th May 1917, twenty three Gotha bombers took to the skies in a daytime mission to bomb London. With cloud over their principal objective, the planes sought out their secondary targets in Kent. 63 civilians were killed and over 100 injured in Tontine Street at Folkestone during the early evening attack. Also, 16 Canadian and 2 British soldiers were killed at Shorncliffe camp to the west of the town.

    http://stepshort.co.uk/our-ww1-history/folkestones-forgotten-tragedy/

    Germany was now equipped to extend the range and intensity of their bombing campaign. In the coming weeks, more Canadian servicemen and British civilians would be killed side by side during a series of lethal air raids.

  10. Brookwood Military Cemetery, Surrey, England

    Brookwood is a village in a semi-rural area of West Surrey close to the boundary with Hampshire, approximately 7 miles north of Guildford which is the county town of Surrey. It is around 38 miles due west of central London and benefits from a train service four times an hour with London Waterloo mainline station. The village is largely surrounded by heath land, with Sheet’s Heath being a “Site of Special Scientific Interest”.

    Originally known as the ‘London Necropolis’, it was seen as a facility to provide substantial burial spaces when the traditional London cemeteries and churchyards were being overwhelmed by the rapid growth of the urban population, both the living and their dead. The Anglican section of Brookwood cemetery was consecrated on 7th November 1854 and opened to the public six days later. The first burials were for paupers laid to rest in unmarked graves. Unusually, it was only one of a few cemeteries which permitted burials on a Sunday, allowing the poor of London’s parishes to bury their dead without having to take a day off work.

    Layout of Brookwood Cemetery and the railway lines serving it at the time of its opening. (Based on a map in Clarke (2006), p. 14)

    The cemetery was served by the London Necropolis Railway which had its own dedicated terminus in Westminster Bridge Road adjacent to Waterloo mainline station. As it was 25 miles from central London, there was no other suitable mode of transporting so many war dead to the Cemetery. Special ‘funeral trains’ travelled to and from Brookwood station which was linked by a short ‘branch line’ to two platforms within the cemetery. The ‘North Station’ was for Non-Conformists whereas the ‘South Station’ served the Anglicans. Nowadays, the branch line and stations have been closed for many years. However, a small section of commemorative track still remains in place.

    The station was located at 121 Westminster Bridge Rd. The entrance shown here is the only part that still survives to the present day.

    Brookwood North Station, serving the  ‘Non-conformist sections’  with a  funeral train approaching. (Ref: Clarke, J 2004.London’s Necropolis)

    Brookwood South Station , serving ‘Anglican sections’ with the Chapel close by (Ref: Clarke, J 2004.London’s Necropolis)

    At 500 acres, it is the largest cemetery in the United Kingdom as well as being one of the largest in Europe. Brookwood is listed as a Grade 1 site in the ‘Register of Historic Parks and Gardens’.

    Administered by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, the Brookwood Military Cemetery is approached down a spectacular tree lined avenue and extends for approximately 37 acres in the northern section. It is the final resting place for 325 Great War and 2404 World War Two Canadians out of a total of 5094 Commonwealth casualties from both wars. In addition, there are a further 1948 war dead from various non-Commonwealth countries.

    There are also 197 identified casualties from both wars who are buried in the civilian Brookwood Cemetery, of whom 193 were from Commonwealth countries (Great Britain, India and South Africa) and four from non-Commonwealth countries (Poland and Holland)

    The 4.5 acres Brookwood American Cemetery and Memorial is maintained by the American Battle Monuments Commission. There are 468 American servicemen buried in this section and a further 563 ‘missing’ commemorated on the Chapel walls.

    In addition, there is also a 1914 -1918 Memorial Wall listing 303 names and the 1939 -1945 Memorial commemorating a further 3398 casualties for whom there is currently no known final resting place. Our Far From Home project, other voluntary organisations and numerous individuals are working tirelessly to establish where some of these casualties might have been buried either at home or abroad. We found numerous Canadian casualties listed on the original 1914 – 1918 Memorial Wall which was replaced by the current structure in November 2015. Currently, we are searching for the final resting place for #150166 Private Samuel McNeice and #1084382 Private John Smith who are the only two Canadians still ‘Missing’.

    The original Memorial Wall – with the Canadian names on this reverse side (2010)

     

    The new Memorial Wall – November 2017

    The map of Brookwood Cemetery shown below is currently in the process of being updated. However, it does highlight the complexity of the site as well as indicating the numerous sections dedicated to specific ethnic and religious groups.

    The WW1 Canadian Section and Memorial Wall is in the bottom right hand corner.

    Brookwood continues to evolve with new Community Mausoleums under construction and an area set aside for ‘Green burials’, both of which alternative options will meet the changing wishes to honour our dead in this twenty first century society.

     

     

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