Tuesday, September 30, 2014

How the First World War affected the City (of London) - The Telegraph

"No fewer than 1,600 stockbrokers joined up to fight in 1914 - 400 never made it home"

This is an interesting article worth a read, highlighting another consequence of the war I had never really thought about.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/markets/11012129/How-the-First-World-War-affected-the-City.html

Monday, September 29, 2014

War News - 29 September 1914


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Feilding Star, Volume XI, Issue 2458, 29 September 1914

The Leeks family - Hunterville Memorial, Whanganui

At the start of World War One in August 1914 Minnie Ann Glastonbury nee Leeks was a wife, daughter and sister.   The only daughter of Edward and Minnie Leeks and sister to 8 brothers, she had been married to Alfred Glastonbury for 4 years at the outbreak of war and they had three small children (the eldest was from Alfred's first wife who had died shortly after childbirth).  By the time the war ended in November 1918 Minnie was widowed and had lost three brothers and a brother in law.  Such loss and grief is unimaginable for most of us in New Zealand today but for many during WW1 it was a factor of everyday life and tragically Minnie's loss was not unique.

I had initially come across Minnie when I was researching the Havelock memorial in Marlborough her husband Alfred Glastonbury is remembered on the memorial.


Alfred Glastonbury (known as Jack) enlisted in May 1916 he worked for the NZ Railways at Ohinigaiti as a surfaceman and was married to Minnie Leeks with three children.  He embarked from Wellington aboard the Devon on 25 September 1916 with the New Zealand Rifle Brigade; disembarking in the United Kingdom on the 21 November 1916 he was marched into Sling Camp on the same day.  Less than a month later on 3 December 1916 he was admitted to the NZ General hospital at Codford sick with gastritis, he died two days later without ever seeing any action.  He was buried at St Mary's Cemetery, Codford.

Jack's death was a second blow for his family back in New Zealand his brother Frank had been killed in action at the Somme on 14 July 1916.  Frank was a member of the Otago Infantry Battalion and  most likely one of two hundred men from the Otago's who on 13/14 July 1916 went on a raid of German lines.  Of the two hundred men only six returned unhurt, fifty four were killed and one hundred and four were wounded.  Frank's name is not recorded on the Havelock Memorial.
For Minnie the loss of her husband came on the back of the death of three of her brothers.  In total six of her eight brothers served in WW1: Cedric William (10/1882), Ivan Lewis (8/2441), Osric Harold (8/885), Frederick Edward (37831), Horace Robert (34098) and Ralph Lowry (22819).
Osric was 20 years old when he enlisted soon after war broke out on 15 August 1914 along with his friend Henry George Field who lived with the Leeks family in Ohingaiti (both men were employed by the W. Collard Box Co. at Utiku).  After enlisting the pair were separated, Osric was attached to  the Otago Infantry Battalion and Henry to the Wellington Infantry Battalion.  Both embarked with the Main Body on 16 October 1914 and fought at Gallipoli where Henry Field was killed in action on 8 August 1915 at Chunuk Bair.  Later in the month Osric was wounded and he died of his wounds at sea aboard the hospital ship Arcadia on 5 September 1915 he was buried at Gibraltar (North Front) Cemetery, Gibraltar.
Cedric Leeks a farm labourer in Ohingaiti was the youngest of the brothers to serve, he enlisted in January 1915.   He sailed with the 4th Reinforcements as part of the Wellington Infantry Battalion on 17 April 1915 and shortly after his arrival in Egypt he embarked for Gallipoli where he was most likely reunited with his brother Osric and Henry Field.   Sadly Cedric too was killed in action on Chunuk Bair on 8 August 1915.  He is remembered with Henry Field on the Chunuk Bair (New Zealand) Memorial, Chunuk Bair Cemetery, Gallipoli, Turkey.

 
Ivan Lewis Leeks was the third brother to enlist at the beginning of May 1915.  Ivan was single and was employed as a painter in Marton when he enlisted.  He embarked with the 5th Reinforcements attached to the Otago Infantry Battalion.  Soon after arriving in Gallipoli Ivan was wounded on 13 August 1915 only days after his brother was killed in action and was sent to Hospital in Malta. After recovering from his wounds he rejoined his unit in October 1915 in Lemnos.  Ivan then embarked for France in April 1916 where he was killed in action on the Somme on 14 July 1916 aged 23 years.
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Minnie Leeks had lost four immediate family members in the space of 15 months the toll on her and her family must have been immeasurable and with three further brothers serving the fear of losing another family member would have surely added to that toll.
Ralph Lowry Leeks was the fourth brother to serve he embarked on 27 May 1916 aboard the Tofua with the New Zealand Rifle Brigade.   Whilst Ralph survived the war he was by no means left unscathed in August 1917 he suffered severe shell shock the result of being exposed to severe shell fire and being buried by earth resulting from the detonation of a high explosive nearby.  Once recovered he rejoined his unit in October 1917 and March 1918 received a shrapnel wound and was invalided back to New Zealand in August 1918.

Horace Robert Leeks was the next to embark leaving behind his wife and two children.  He left with the 21st Reinforcements on 19 January 1917.  He too despite surviving the war was not left unscathed.  Wounded twice firstly at Ypres on 22 November 1917 and then again on 23 October 1918.  He returned to New Zealand where tragically years later during WW2 he would lose one of his sons to war.  Cedric Russell Leeks was with the New Zealand Engineers and died whilst a prisoner of war on 28 January 1943 aged 27.  He is buried at Krakow Rakowicki Cemetery, Poland.
Frederick Edward Leeks was the last of the Leeks brothers to embark leaving with the 22nd Reinforcements on 13 February 1917.  Frederic a painter in Wellington and was married with two children.   He too was wounded twice being gassed on 13 August 1917 and wounded on 2 September 1918.  He was invalided back to NZ in December 1918.
Minnie Glastonbury eventually remarried Harold Bly in 1941 and she died in 1978 in the same year as her youngest brother Conrad Leeks.  They were the last of Edward & Minnie Leeks.

Friday, September 12, 2014

War News - 12 September 1914



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Evening Post, Volume LXXXVIII, 12 September 1914


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Press, Volume L, Issue 15071, 12 September 1914

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Corporal Edward St George - Bulls Memorial


 
In Memoriam, 1914-1918 [Wanganui Collegiate School], Wanganui Chronicle Co. Ltd.

Edward St George Gorton known as Jack was the youngest son of the late Lieutenant Colonel Edward and Nora Mary Stephenson Gorton.   Born in 1881 he was educated along with his brothers at Wanganui Collegiate School.  In 1902 he headed to Argentina to join his brother where they both ran large farms from which they hoped to make their fortune before eventually returning to New Zealand.  At the outbreak of war and Jack quickly left Argentina and headed for Britain where he enlisted with the New Zealand Engineers.

He embarked for Gallipoli on 12 April 1915 where he was wounded on 16 May 1915 receiving shrapnel wounds to his back and right arm.  After being hospitalised in Alexandria and Cairo he returned to Gallipoli in August 1915.  Whilst recovering from his wounds he would have received the sad news of the death of his brother Denis in Buenos Aires.  Jack distinguished himself in Gallipoli and is mentioned in the records.

After the evacuation from Gallipoli he served on the Western Front with the Engineers where he was killed in action on 11 January 1918 he is buried at Ypres Reservoir Cemetery, Ieper, Belgium, he was 37 years old.  Below is a extract from In Memoriam, 1914-1918, Wanganui Collegiate School:
 
The evening before his death he received instructions to leave for a commission in England, but asked permission to go out and finish a job he had not completed. While doing this he was instantly killed by a shell. He was in the Engineers and very keen on his work. Had he been a little less so he would in all probability be alive today. 

War News - 10 September 1914




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Hunterville Memorial - Whanganui




Monday, September 8, 2014

Walter Tull, the first black officer in the British army, to feature on £5 coin - The Guardian


Walter tull trail
Walter Tull at Tottenham. Photograph: Michaela Morgany by Micahel
The first black officer in the British Army will be remembered on a special set of coins released by the Royal Mint as part of commemorations of the centenary of the first world war.
http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/sep/03/walter-tull-first-black-officer-british-army-coin

War News - 8 September 1914

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Marlborough Express, Volume XLVIII, Issue 211, 8 September 1914

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Press, Volume L, Issue 15067, 8 September 1914

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Press, Volume L, Issue 15067, 8 September 1914

 


Rifleman Cecil Albert Duff - Bulls Memorial


 

At the time of enlisting in January 1916, Cecil Duff was employed at the Eltham dairy factory as a cheese factory hand.  Cecil was the second son of Elizabeth Eleanor Duff, of Bulls, and the late David James Duff, born in Wellington in April 1885.

Before embarking Cecil needed treatment on his teeth which was carried out at Featherston camp. The treatment required a general anesthetic and Cecil was confused with another soldier who had died at the hospital whilst undergoing treatment.  Cecil's mother received a telegram informing her that her son had died while undergoing the treatment.  When a cousin went to view what he assumed would be Cecil's body he was surprised to find Cecil alive.  Cecil's mother (Elizabeth) on hearing the news that her son was still alive and well must have been overjoyed.

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Poverty Bay Herald, Volume XLIII, Issue 13936, 8 March 1916

Cecil finally embarked on 1 April 1916 with the 2nd Reinforcements attached to the New Zealand Rifle Brigade.  Sadly Elizabeth would receive another telegram some months later in 1916 informing her that her son had been killed in action on 15 September 1916 at the Somme and this time there was no mistake.  His body was never identified and he is remembered on the Caterpillar Valley (New Zealand) Memorial, Caterpillar Valley Cemetery, Longueval, Somme, France.

Cecil's younger brother Bert also enlisted and embarked with the Wellington Infantry Battalion.  On enlisting he was given a clean bill of health, however soon after arrival in England he had a re-occurrence of Rheumatic fever which he had contracted years early.  From what I can tell he never made it to the front and was discharged from the army no longer fit for duty returning to New Zealand in May 1917.