Tag Archives: myalgia

CWG: Sergeant Herbert Rendell

Sergeant Herbert Rendell

Herbert George Rendell was born in the summer of 1886, the oldest of six children to George and Catherine Rendell. George was a twine maker from West Coker, near Yeovil in Somerset, and it was in this village that he and Catherine raised their young family.

While he initially found work as a labourer when he left school, the lure of a better life and career proved too much for Herbert and, in June 1905, he enlisted in the Royal Engineers as a Sapper. He spent three years spent on home soil, working hard and earning a Good Conduct medal for his service. During his tour of duty, he contracted pneumonia, spending five weeks in hospital in Chatham, Kent, over Christmas 1905, but fully recovering.

In September 1908, Herbert was sent to Singapore for a three-year tour of duty with the 21st Company. His body was not accustomed to the different environment, and he was hospitalised three times for malaria and myalgia, as well as two bouts of gonorrhoea in 1908 and 1910.

In December 1911, Sapper Rendell returned home, where he served for a further three years before war broke out in the summer of 1914. Having been promoted to Lance Corporal, and after a short bout in hospital following a reaction to his cowpox vaccination, he was sent to Egypt.

Assigned to the 359th Water Company, he would have been charged with constructing and maintaining the supply pipes to and from the Front Line and for his work was soon promoted to Corporal.

In the spring of 1918, the now Sergeant Rendell was transferred to the 357th Water Company, and found himself in Palestine, where he stayed until the end of the war. He came home on leave in April 1919, and it was here that, once again, he contracted pneumonia.

Sadly, Sergeant Rendell was not to recover from the lung condition for a second time; he passed away at his parents’ home on 9th April 1919, at the age of 32 years old.

Herbert George Rendell was laid to rest in Yeovil Cemetery, not far from the village where he was born.


CWG: Gunner Joseph Symes

Gunner Joseph Symes

Joseph Symes was born in May 1876, and was the youngest of ten children to Joseph and Caroline Symes. Joseph Sr was a shoemaker who had been born in Shepton Mallet, Somerset, but who had moved to Bristol for work in the late 1860s.

As with some of his older siblings, Joseph Jr followed in his father’s shoemaking footsteps. He worked as a boot clicker, punching the eye holes in footwear, and cutter, taking the shaped pieces out of large leather hides.

In June 1905, he married Emily Delling, who was also from Bristol, and the couple went on to have a son, Douglas, a year later. The couple moved into a two-up-two-down terraced house in a cul-de-sac to the north east of the city centre.

War was coming to the British Isles. Full details of Joseph’s military service no longer exist; however, his gravestone confirms that he enlisted in the Royal Field Artillery.

There is no documentation to confirm whether Gunner Symes saw active service abroad; he certainly survived the war, but in February 1919 was discharged on medical grounds, suffering from myalgia. He was granted a pension, and the family soon replaced the busy city life for a quieter one down the coast in Weston-super-Mare.

Joseph’s trail goes cold for a couple of years, and he passed away on 4th March 1921, at the age of 44 years old. Sadly, there is nothing to confirm the cause of his death; it seems likely that his ongoing medical condition got the better of him.

Joseph Symes was laid to rest in the Milton Cemetery in Weston-super-Mare.


CWG: Corporal William Stevens

Corporal William Stevens

William Charles Stevens was born in Wells in 1884. The eldest child of Alfred and Susan, William was one of eleven children. Alfred worked at the local paper mill, while William became a labourer, and found work as a stonemason.

William seemed keen to improve his prospects, however; he enlisted in the army at the start of 1903, serving in the Royal Field Artillery for a period of four years, before being demobbed to the reserves.

On Christmas Day 1907, William married Minnie Bailey; the census four years later gives the young couple as living in their home city. William, by now, was labouring on the railway, and the census shows, they had had a child, who had sadly passed away.

War was looming, and Gunner Stevens was recalled to duty in August 1914. Quickly posted overseas with the 23rd Brigade, he fell ill with myalgia and was shipped home to recover towards the end of the year.

Sent back to the front in 1915, William was promoted to Corporal and transferred to the 51st (Howitzer) Brigade. Sadly, his ‘tremble’ returned and he was sent back to England in October 1915. By this point, Minnie had given birth to their second child, a little girl they called Lilian.

Corporal Stevens’ condition continued, and he was medically discharged in March 1916. No further records exist, but it seems that he finally succumbed to the condition later that year. He passed away on 2nd November 1916, aged 32 years old.

William Charles Stevens lies at peace in the cemetery of his home town, Wells in Somerset.