Tag Archives: Wales

CWG: Private William Lamacraft

Private William Lamacraft

William Morrish Lamacraft was born in Guernsey in 1888, the only son of John and Annie Lamacraft. Annie passed away when William was just 4 years old, and John brought his son back to England, returning to Devon, where he himself had been born. John found employment as a porter at St Thomas’ Union Workhouse in Exeter and lived in here, while William was taken in by his paternal grandmother, Mary, who was also in Exeter.

In 1909, John also passed away. William, by this time, had left school and found work as a bootman at the Queen’s Hotel in Newport, Gwent. War was on its way to Europe by this point and, when it broke out, William enlisted as a Private in the Labour Corps.

At some point William transferred across to the Devonshire Regiment, but there is little tangible evidence to document when and where he served. What is clear is that Private Lamacraft survived the war, and had returned to Newton Abbot when he was demobbed.

Sadly, William Morrish Lamacraft was not to live a long life after the Armistice was declared. He passed away on 6th June 1919, aged just 31 years old; the cause of death lost to time. He was laid to rest in Newton Abbot Cemetery.

CWG: Private Harry Maidment

Private Harry Maidment

Henry James Maidment – known as Harry – was born in Penarth, South Wales, in the autumn of 1890. He was one of seven children to Somerset-born Henry and Minnie Maidment. Henry Sr was a general labourer, and, when he died in 1899, Minnie remained in Penarth, earning money to support the family as a hawker of fruit.

By the time of the 1911 census, most of Minnie’s children were still living at home, with all but one of them working. Harry was employed as a van driver for a laundry, while his siblings were working variously as labourers, sailors and a housekeeper.

In the autumn of 1911, Harry married Annie Hillier, a servant who had been born in Yeovil, but who had also moved to South Wales. The couple went on to have a son, Henry, in October 1912, but he tragically passed away when he was just a couple of months old. They were not to have any other children.

War was coming to Europe by this point, and Harry was keen to play his part. He enlisted towards the end of 1914, joining the 1st Battalion of the Somerset Light Infantry as a Private. He arrived in France at the beginning of May 1915, and would have seen fighting at Ypres that spring.

It seems that Private Maidment was wounded at Ypres; he was medically evacuated home and was admitted to the Graylingwell Hospital in Chichester, West Sussex. Details of his injuries are not available, but they must have been severe; he passed away from them on 23rd July 1915, aged just 25 years old.

Harry James Maidment’s body was brought back to Somerset; he was laid to rest in the graveyard of Christ Church, Frome, his parents’ home town, and where his widow, Annie was living.

CWG: Ordinary Seaman William Godwin

Ordinary Seaman William Godwin

William John Godwin – known as Willie – was born on 13th March 1897, the oldest of six children. His parents were railway signalman George Godwin, and his wife Emily. George was born in Monmouthshire, Emily was from Bristol; the couple raised their family in South Wales.

When Willie left school, he found work at a local tinplate manufacturer, and was employed as a cold roll greaser – helping maintain the equipment. War was knocking on Europe’s doors, however, and, in September 1916, he was called upon to do his duty.

Willie joined the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve; his enlistment papers show that he stood 5ft 6ins tall, had dark brown hair, brown eyes and a fair complexion. It was noted, however, that he had an abscess scar on his right cheek.

Ordinary Seaman Godwin’s first posting was at HMS Victory, the Royal Naval Dockyard in Portsmouth, Hampshire. Here he undertook his initial training, but in May 1917, he was sent to another shore-based establishment, HMS Pembroke – Chatham Dockyard.

The base was particularly busy when Willie arrived. Temporary accommodation at Chatham Drill Hall had to be set up, and this is where he found himself billeted.

On the 3rd September 1917, the German Air Force carried out one of the first night-time air raids on England: an unprepared Chatham was heavily bombed and the Drill Hall received a direct hit. Ordinary Seaman Godwin was amongst those killed instantly. He was just 20 years of age.

William John Godwin was laid to rest, along with the other victims of the Chatham Air Raid, in the Woodlands Cemetery, Gillingham.

CWG: Lieutenant Basil Scott-Holmes

Lieutenant Basil Scott-Holmes

Basil Scott-Holmes was born on 2nd February 1884 in the Somerset village of Wookey. The oldest of two children, his father was Liverpool-born Thomas Scott-Holmes and his wife, Katherine. When Basil was born, Thomas was the vicar of St Matthew’s Church, Wookey, but by 1901, he had risen to the role of clergyman – and subsequently Chancellor – at Wells Cathedral.

Basil’s pedigree stood him in good stead. Initially educated in Llandaff, South Wales, he subsequently attended Sherborne School in Dorset. Sent up to Cambridge, he studied history at Sidney Sussex College.

After leaving university, Basil spent time in Europe learning German and French. He was then assigned the role of Assistant Commissioner in North Nigeria but, after a year there he was invalided home taking up a teaching role at the Bristol Grammar School in 1912.

In July 1913, Basil married Barbara Willey, a surgeon’s daughter from Reigate, Surrey. The marriage record shows that Basil was registrar for an architectural association by this point; the couple went on to have two children, daughters Annette and Prudence.

When the war broke out, he was obviously keen to do his bit. In September 1914 he enlisted in the Royal Army Service Corps, before gaining a commission in the King’s Royal Rifle Corps a couple of months later. In the spring of 1916, Lieutenant Scott-Holmes had been seconded to the Machine Gun Corps, although it is unclear whether he served abroad during any of his time in the army.

On the evening of 24th October 1916, Lieutenant Scott-Holmes was riding in a motorcycle sidecar through central London, on the way back to camp. A local newspaper picked up the story:

…they stopped when going through Wandsworth to re-light the near light, and in the dark a motor omnibus ran into them, and Lieutenant [Scott-Holmes], who was strapped in the side-car, was, with the car, flung across the road. He died as he was being taken to Wandsworth Hospital. At the subsequent inquest, a verdict of “accidental death” was returned.

Central Somerset Gazette: Friday 3rd November 1916

Basil Scott-Holmes was just 32 years old. His body was brought back to Somerset; he was laid to rest in the cemetery at Wells Cathedral.

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Basil Scott-Holmes
(from ancestry.co.uk)

CWG: Stoker 1st Class Patrick Tynan

Stoker 1st Class Patrick Tynan

Patrick Tynan was born in Roscrea, Southern Ireland, on 9th June 1893. He was the eldest of four children to John and Anne Tynan, but sadly, there is no further information available for his early years.

Patrick’s story really picks up on 14th December 1915, when he joined the Royal Engineers as a Private. His service record states that he was living in Bangor, Gwynedd, and that he was a stall keeper at a fairground – a subsequent document noted his trade as a showman. He was noted to be 5ft 8ins (1.72m) tall, weighed 151lbs (68.5kg), and had numerous scars on his back.

Private Tynan did not stay in the UK for long. Assigned the new role of Driver, he was attached to the GHQ Signal Company and sailed from Devonport on 30th June 1916, bound for Mesopotamia. Arriving in Margil – the port connected to Basra – he was based here for more than a year, before moving north to Baghdad.

By this time, Patrick had risen to the rank of Lance Corporal, and was obviously a trustworthy member of the company. Towards the end of 1917, he had again been promoted, this time to Corporal.

During his time in modern day Iraq, Patrick was admitted to hospital a handful of times; there is little information on the conditions he suffered, but none appear to have been life threatening, as they were only for short periods. It’s also interesting to find that his service records confirm a month’s leave in May 1918, spent in India.

When the war came to a close, Corporal Tynan was still in the Middle East. Ready to be demobbed, his company moved to India and boarded the SS Chupra in Calcutta on 26th February 1919, bound for home.

Back in the UK, however, Patrick was not ready to give up the formal military life. Having returned to Gillingham in Kent, where the Royal Engineers were based, he initially found work as a tram conductor, but soon signed up for a five year term with the Royal Navy as a stoker.

He was based on HMS Pembroke II, the shore-based establishment at Chatham Dockyard, but sadly, his time in the navy was to be a short one. Admitted to the Royal Naval Hospital in the town with pneumonia, he passed away form the condition on 1st October 1919. He was just 26 years old.

Patrick Tynan was laid to rest in the Woodlands Cemetery in Gillingham. He had a short but full life, something his modest gravestone doesn’t begin to hint at.

CWG: Engine Room Artificer Archibald Callon

Engine Room Artificer Archibald Callon

Archibald Hubert Callon – also known as Archie – was born on 2nd January 1890 in Pembroke Dock, South Wales. One of eight children, his parents were shipwright Michael Callon and his wife, Mary. Soon after Archie was born, Michael moved the family to Gillingham, Kent, presumably as work at the nearby Naval Dockyard was plentiful.

The sea was clearly in his blood as, in 1905, Archie joined the Royal Navy, initially as a Boy Artificer, before taking on full employment there once he reached the age of 18. The 1911 census found him working as an Engine Room Artificer 4th Class, one of a crew of 57 aboard the torpedo destroyer HMS Swale, moored in Grimsby.

Archie slowly rose through the ranks and, by 1913, had become Engine Room Artificer 3rd Class, while serving on HMS Clio. He remained on this vessel through to April 1916, before returning to HMS Pembroke, the shore-based naval establishment in Chatham, Kent.

Sadly, Archie’s time back home was short. The next record for him is stark; it is noted that on 10th July 1916, he committed suicide, during temporary insanity. I have been unable to uncover anything further about his passing. He was just 26 years old.

Archibald Hubert Callon was laid to rest in the Woodlands Cemetery in Gillingham, Kent, not far from where his family lived.

CWG: Captain John Trayler

Captain John Trayler

John Nelson Trayler was born on 2nd December 1876, the oldest of seven siblings. His father, Jonas Trayler, was born in London, but moved to South Wales to become a farmer. He married Elizabeth Green, who was from Haverfordwest, and John was their eldest child, born in Pembrokeshire.

In December 1895, having just turned 19, John joined the 1st Devonshire Volunteer Corps. He seemed eager for a life of action; given that the 1901 census lists his profession simply as ‘farmer’s son’, it’s easy to see why. By this time, the family had moved to a farm in Broadclyst, to the north east of Exeter in Devon.

There was a change of direction for the family, however. By 1908, both father and son were working as tanners; John had moved back to Wales, while Jonas had set up work in Bridgwater, Somerset.

John, by this time, had met Eunice Sully; she was the daughter of a gentleman, and her family lived in Wembdon, near Bridgwater. They married in July 1908, and lived in the village of Lamphey in Pembroke.

John was, by now, the managing director of a tannery and obviously had the business acumen to run a company. He joined the local freemason’s – the Lodge of Perpetual Friendship – but, in January 1914, it was reported in the local newspaper that the business was to be voluntarily wound up.

John’s father Jonas was also forging ahead with his ambitions, and was a councillor for the Bridgwater area.

When the Great War broke out, John’s time with the Devonshire Volunteer Corps was such that he had attained the rank of Captain. Assigned to the 11th (Reserve) Battalion, John was based out of Exeter and it is unlikely that he saw any active service in France.

In August 1915, the Exeter and Plymouth Gazette reported that Captain Trayler had relinquished his commission on account of poor health, and this seems to have been an ongoing issue. In fact, when he was staying with Eunice’s parents in Clevedon later that year, he fell seriously ill. While his medical condition is lost to time, sadly it was one he succumbed to. He died at his in-laws’ house on 27th November 1915, at the age of 39 years old.

John Nelson Trayler was laid to rest in the picturesque graveyard of St Mary’s Church in Clevedon, Somerset.

CWG: Lance Corporal William Neads

Lance Corporal William Neads

William John Neads was born on 16th December 1892, the middle of three children to cab driver and groom William Neads and his wife Ellen. Both William Sr and Ellen were from Somerset, although William Jr and his brother Charles – who was eleven months older – were both born in the Monmouthshire village of Cwmcarn.

William’s parents soon moved the family back to Clevedon in Somerset, and, when he left school, he found work as a farm labourer. He was eager to see more of the world, however and, in April 1913, he emigrated to Canada.

After working as a labourer there for a year or so, back in Europe war was declared. Keen to do his bit for King and Country, William enlisted in the 1st Battalion of the Canadian Infantry in January 1915. He soon found himself caught up on the Front Line.

In October 1916, he was involved in the Battle of the Somme – either at Le Transloy or The Battle of the Ancre Heights – and received a shrapnel wound to his left shoulder. Initially admitted to the Canadian General Hospital in Etaples, he was subsequently evacuated to England and the Northern General Hospital in Leeds. He spent three months recovering from his injuries, and was back on the Western Front in January 1917.

Later that year, William – now a Lance Corporal – was involved in the fighting at the Second Battle of Passchendaele (part of the Third Battle of Ypres). He was wounded again, this time receiving a rather unceremonious gunshot wound to the right buttock. Treated at the scene, he was evacuated back to England and admitted to the Fusehill War Hospital in Carlisle on 17th November.

Sadly, despite treatment, Lance Corporal Neads’ health deteriorated, and he passed away from his injuries on 16th December 1917, his 25th birthday.

William John Neads was brought back to his family’s home of Clevedon, and buried in the clifftop churchyard of St Andrew’s, overlooking the sea.

Tragically, William’s father had died in May 1917, at the age of 51. While no details of his passing are recorded, it meant that Ellen had, in just over a year, seen her son wounded, her husband die and her son wounded again and die as a result.

CWG: Chief Stoker Ernest Ware

Chief Stoker Ernest Ware

Ernest George Ware was born in the autumn of 1871 in Marylebone, London. Details of his early life are scant, but records show that he enlisted in the Royal Navy in February 1895, serving as a Stoker for an initial period of twelve years.

During this time, he worked on a number of different vessels – Wildfire, Theseus, Warspite, Amphion, Acheron and Sapphire. He was also based on a number of shore vessels; potentially Southsea in Hampshire and Pembroke in Wales.

In 1905 he married Mary Emery; she was the same age as Ernest, and was born in Hampshire. The young couple had a daughter, Muriel, and, by the time of the 1911 census, the family were living in Pembroke Dock, in South Wales.

War was inching closer, and Stoker Ware’s service was extended for the duration; he served on a number of other vessels – Leander, Blenheim, Blake and Tyne – before being promoted to Chief Stoker on HMS Blonde in 1911. He transferred to HMS St George two years later, before moving on shore to the training vessel HMS Victory II (based in Crystal Palace, South London) in 1915.

Chief Stoker Ware’s health seemed to have been in decline by this point; he was admitted to the Royal Naval Hospital Haslar in Gosport in early 1916, suffering from malignant endocarditis. Sadly, he passed away on 16th February, aged 44 years old.

Ernest George Ware was buried in the Woodlands Cemetery in Gillingham, Kent, close to where his widow was now living.

CWG: Private Herbert Packer

Guardsman Herbert Packer

Herbert Packer was born in December 1889, the youngest of nine children to Joseph and Ann Packer. Joseph was a railway carrier (or porter) and the family lived in Cheddar, Somerset.

The 1911 census found Herbert on his travels; he was working as a grocer’s assistant, and boarding with a family in Abergavenny, South Wales. He was obviously keen to develop his skills, and soon moved to Barnstaple in Devon to work for the Lipton’s grocery there.

In the autumn of 1914, Herbert married Lydia Snell, a dressmaker from Wales and the young couple lived together in the Devon town where he worked. He was very active in the community; he was a teacher at the local Wesleyan Sunday School, and active in the church choir having, according to a local newspaper, “a capital voice”.

Herbert enlisted in the spring of 1916, and had the honour of joining the Coldstream Guards. He did his training in London, and was due back to Barnstaple on leave before starting his active service when he was taken ill. Admitted to the London Hospital with pneumonia, within a couple of weeks he had succumbed to the condition. Guardsman Packer died on 3rd December 1916, aged just 26 years old.

Herbert Packer lies at rest in St Andrew’s Churchyard in his home town of Cheddar in Somerset.