Officers, N.C.O.s and Men of the 1st Battalion, Buried in Boulogne Eastern Cemetery
This cemetery contains 5578 Great War burials (4735 from the UK, 442 Canad1ans, 307 from Australia, 74 from New Zealand, 15 South Africans and 5 from India).
There are another 224 Second World War burials here too. Unusually, the headstones are laid flat in this cemetery. This is due to the sandy soil.
From October 1914 to the end of the war, Boulogne and Wimereux formed one of the chief hospital areas. Until June 1918, the dead from the hospitals at Boulogne itself were buried in the Cimetière de L’Est, one of the town cemeteries, the Commonwealth graves forming a long, narrow strip along the right hand edge of the cemetery.
Of the named burials 1 Officer and 5 other ranks are soldiers of the 1st Battalion, died from their wounds in 1914.
Five of the men buried here died within a few days of each other (23rd – 29th October 1914) of wounds received, no doubt, from the fighting around Festubert and Violaines a few days earlier. The other Casualty, Private Hilditch, died in December.
Use the links below to read a little more about each man and see where he is buried.
Lieutenant Alec Arthur Crichton MAITLAND-ADDISON
Personal: Alec was born in Brighton, Sussex, in the June quarter 1886, son of Major Alfred Chamberlain, (71st Highland Light Infantry) and Mary Elizabeth Kay (née Hurst) Maitland-Addison of 12 Arundel Terrace, Brighton. [The CWGC Record states “the late” Major Alfred, as Alec’s father had died on 17th December 1916 at 2 Trebovir Road, London.]
Alec had four older brothers and an older sister, John Francis Richard Norman, Clive Charles Henry, Lionel Arthur Hurst Bisset, Sybil Louisa Ethel (later Swindells) and Guy Robert Hurst, and 2 younger brothers, Roy Crichton Alfred and Charles Bissett. [see below]
The 1901 Census (RG 12/1191) shows the family living at 41 Hamilton Road, Ealing, Middlesex. (The family are only recorded by initials, with 5 children in total.)
Alec has not been found on the 1911 Census. Brother Lionel is shown in the 1911 Census (RG 14/5621) as a serving Lieutenant on board HMS Fisgard. He had enrolled in the Royal Navy on 15th January 1895, aged 15. Charles was at Ardingley School as a Boarder. The parents and Guy and Roy were living at 23 Philbeach Gardens, Kensington. Guy is recorded as “Royal Navy -Retained“.
In February 1915 the ‘Register of Soldiers’ Effects‘ show an amount of £169 15s 7d [£169.77] returned to Alec’s father (this would be equivalent to about £22,500 today – 2023). A further £45 War Gratuity [c. £2600 today] was sent in 1920 to ‘Francis Richard Norman Maitland-Addison‘. Probate Records show that his home address at the time of going to War was 2 Trebovir Road, S. Kensington, London.
Military Service: Currently his Army records are unavailable, and do not appear to have survived the Second World War bombing, neither is his Medal Index Card available. Alec was gazetted 2nd Lieutenant in the Cheshire Regiment on 16th September 1914 and promoted Lieutenant for “distinguished service in the field“. (Source: ‘Roll of Honour’.)
He died in Hospital at Boulogne on 27th October from “wounds received at Ypres on the 25th“. (The “Roll of Honour” entry states Ypres, but the Battalion did not get there until 6th November, on the 25th October the Battalion was in reserve east of Bethune.)
Crookenden, page 28, gives the date of Lieutenant Addison being wounded as the 20th, on which date the Battalion was in action at Violaines. The War Diary confirms this: “Held VIOLAINES, artillery shelled LA BASSEE. Battalion on outposts. 2/Lieut MAY, 2/Lieut ADDISON wounded, 3 men killed, 24 men wounded. 3 p.m. German attack repulsed. Battalion on outposts.”
Grave inscription reads: “At the going down of the sun and in the morning we will remember him“.
Private 10006 Samuel HILDITCH – 3rd (Reserve) Battalion
Personal: Samuel was born on 15th September 1889 at Park Lane, Sandbach, Cheshire, the eldest son of Edwin (Blacksmith on Railway) and Annie Hilditch.
He had five younger siblings, Henry, Abraham, Emma, Eliza and Edwin. (1911 Census RG 14/21771 – living at 13 Moss Square, Crewe, Cheshire). However, Samuel’s mother Annie, died in 1897 and in the December quarter 1899 his father, Edwin, re-married Jane Taylor. Abraham, Emma, Eliza and Edwin were, therefore, Samuel’s half-siblings.
At the time of his enlistment in July 1914 he was stated to have brown eyes and black hair and his religion was Church of England. He was employed as a “Fireman“, presumably on the railway.
His total effects were returned to his father, Edwin, in April 1915, amounting to £5 1s 1d [£5.06 – equivalent to about £660 today – 2023]. A War Gratuity of £3 [£200 today] followed in June 1919].
Military Service: According to his Service Record Samuel had been enlisted in the old 4th Battalion until it was disbanded. He re-enlisted into the 3rd (Special Reserve) Battalion at Crewe, Cheshire on 9 July 1914, aged 24 years 300 days.
His terms of service were for 6 years and after 90 days training he entered France on 7th October 1914 and was probably one of the 248 reinforcements to join the depleted 1st Battalion on 16th October.
On 29th August he had been charged with being absent from his guard, “whilst on active service” from 6 p.m., returning drunk at 11.30 p.m. and received 14 days detention.
He was wounded on 14th or 15th November whilst the Battalion was in action at Ypres, and died from gunshot wounds to the back on 10th December 1914 (List 9687) at No. 7 Stationary Hospital, which had been established in a Hotel. In total he had served just 155 days with the Regiment, 65 in France.
The War Diary for the day reads: “Battalion in trenches. To conform with the Division on our right, an order was given to retire from the advance line of trenches & take up another line about 150 yds in rear, this was commenced at midday and completed by 4 p.m. when the final line was held. The enemy were pressing on all the time & consequently our casualties were rather heavy.
2/Lieut H R Stables, 5/Royal Fusiliers, killed. 2/Lieut E G Carr wounded & 30 N.C.O.s and men killed, wounded & missing. Two German patrols of 15 & 7 men were shot down just outside our trenches.”
Grave: III.A.20. Died of wounds: 29th October 1914 Age: 24
Personal: According to the 1901 Census (RG 13/4341) Stephen was born at Sheffield, Yorkshire (SDGW and Service Record says Bebington, Cheshire), in January 1895. He was the eldest son of William (Road labourer) and Fanny Anne Jones of 5 Oak Street, off Watson Street, Birkenhead, Cheshire.
At the time of his death (SDGW) he was living in Rock Ferry, Cheshire and had 4 younger brothers, Watkin, Herbert, Reuben and Steven (?), and 5 sisters, Lizzie, Nellie + 3.
At the time of his enlistment he was employed as a General Labourer. When he joined the Cheshires he was 5′ 4¼” tall (1.63 m.), weighed 113 lbs. (8 st. 1lbs.) had a ‘fresh‘ complexion, brown eyes and brown hair. His religion was Church of England.
When his effects were returned to Steven’s mother, Fanny Anne, in March 1915, the family was recorded as Bibington, Birkenhead. The total value returned to her was £5 3s 3d [£5.16 – equivalent to about £680 today – 2023]. Four years later she received a further £5 War Gratuity [about £330 today]. At that time she was living at 5 Oak Street, off Watson Street, Birkenhead.
Military Service: According to his Service Record Stephen enlisted at Birkenhead, Cheshire on 26 August 1913, aged 18 years 7 months, and gave his occupation as “Casual Labourer“.
His terms of service were for 7 + 5 years (i.e. 7 years Active Service followed by 5 years on Reserve) and after 90 days training he was posted to the 1st Battalion at Londonderry on 15th November 1913.
For some reason he was absent from training between 6th – 11th October and generally his time with the Regiment in Londonderry was not without some difficulty:
On 28th February 1914 he was guilty of ‘not complying with an order‘, for which he was confined to barracks (CB) for 7 days. On 5th March he failed to ‘go to School‘ and on the 10th March he was absent from roll call and received 3 days CB; again on 21 March absent from fatigues and late – 5 days CB. 14th May 1914 – ‘absent, lying and failing to attend dentist‘ – 8 days; ‘dirty equipment‘ on 30th May earned him another 3 days and 3 more on 15th June for ‘neglect of duty‘.
Most serious was his Field General Court Martial on 7th September 1914, after the Battalion had arrived in France. He was charged with, “When on active service drunkenness.” He was sentenced to 3 months field punishment No. 1.
As a regular soldier he sailed to France with the 1st Battalion at the outbreak of War and his Medal Card shows he entered France 16th August 1914, so was one of those who escaped from the action at Audregnies. For some reason, however, he does not appear on the published list of the original members of the 1st Battalion.
Stephen was one of the 12 N.C.O.s & men wounded on 15th October whilst the Battalion was in action at Festubert, and treated at the 15th Field Ambulance for a gun shot wound to the head. He died on 29th October 1914 at No. 7 Stationery Hospital, Boulogne, which had been established in a Hotel, from a “depressed fracture of the skull” caused by the gunshot wound (List 3927).
In total he had served 1 year 55 days with the Regiment, after excluding his 6 days absence in October 1913, 75 days in France.
Grave: III.A.1 Died of wounds: 22nd October 1914 Age: 29
Personal: According to his Pension Records John was born in Newton, Hyde, Cheshire on 6th May 1886, the eldest son of Hannah Purches (a widow).
He had three elder sisters, Elizabeth A., Edith and Mary Vanda and a younger brother, Joseph, who also enlisted into the Cheshire Regiment. John’s father was Thomas Purches (a Blacksmith) who died in the September quarter 1889. In 1901 John was employed as a “Cotton Spinner” and the family was living at 42 Union Street, Hyde. (1901 Census RG 13/3282) In 1911 (Census RG 14-24353) John was living at 13 Katherine Street, Ashton-under-Lyne and working as a ‘Police Constable‘.
At the time of his enlistment he was employed as a Labourer. He was 5′ 8¼” tall (1.73 m.). After 3 months training he had grown to 5’ 11″ tall (1.80 m.). He weighed 123 lbs. (8 stone 11lbs), rising to 10 stone 9lbs (149 lbs.), had a ‘fair‘ complexion, grey eyes and sandy hair. His stated religion was Church of England. (His height was probably a bit of an exaggeration as on transfer to the Army Reserve, aged 21 years 9 months, he was 5 ft. 9 ins (1.75 m.)!
On 2nd September 1911 John married May Mosley at St Mary’s Parish Church, Naughton, Lancashire and they lived at 9 Sackville Street, Ashton-under-Lyne. (After the War she went to live at 14 Adelaide Street, Blackpool, Lancashire) There is no record of them having any children.
May was awarded a pension of 11/- (55p – worth about £75 today – 2023) per week on 10th May 1915 and “Ministry of Pensions – Widows Form: 3” does not mention children. The pension increased to 16/3d (81p – £72 today. The decrease in actual value was due to inflation) from 14th April 1917. At the time she was living at 30 Pole Acre Lane, Woolley, Stockport.
May later remarried, becoming Mrs Allenby, residing at 27 Cavendish Street, Ashton-under-Lyne.
Military Service: John enlisted into the 2nd Battalion the Cheshire Regiment at Hyde, Cheshire on 4th November 1903, aged 18 years 7 months on a 3 + 9 engagement (3 years Active Service and 9 years on Reserve). He was at the time already serving with the 6th (TF) Battalion, the Manchester Regiment.
After initial training he was posted to India on 20th September 1904, returning on 25th January 1907. He transferred to the Reserve ‘B’ List on 28th January 1907, after 3 yrs. 86 days. He had obtained 3rd Class Musketry and 3rd Class Education certificates and his conduct described as ‘Good‘.
As a Reservist he was recalled to the 1st Battalion at the outbreak of War and his Medal Card shows he entered France on 16th August 1914, so was one of those who escaped from the action at Audregnies. On 5th September 1914 he was promoted to (paid) acting Lance Corporal and 6 days later to Acting Sergeant.
He was probably one of the 64 N.C.O.s & men wounded between 17th and 20th October whilst the Battalion was in action at Festubert and Voilaines. He died at No. 13 General Hospital, Boulogne, from wounds received in action at 10.30 p.m. on 22nd October 1914.
The War Diary for 22nd October makes disastrous reading for the 1st Battalion: ” 5.10 a.m. Enemy made heavy attack, and took the trenches at the point of the bayonet. Battalion retired to RUE DU MARAIS under very heavy fire. Manchesters came up in support.
8.00 p.m. Battalion withdrawn and went in bivouac at last E of RUE DE BETHUNE.
Casualties: Captains Shore, Rich, Hartford, 2/Lieuts Atkinson, Leicester, Greenhalgh missing, Captain Forster, 18 N.C.O.s & men wounded, 200 N.C.O.s & men missing including Sergeant Major.
CAPTAIN MAHONY died in hospital. Lieut. T L Frost took over command of the Battalion.”
John’s surviving Service Records show some confusion with his younger brother, Joseph, with regard to dates of promotion to Lance Corporal and Sergeant.
Also, as to which of them was killed in action and which was taken prisoner; ‘A’ Company R.S.M. 4281 F. Howard, captured at Audregnies on 24th August 1914, wrote from his internment camp (“Hotel Galleries, Group 1, Scheveningen, Holland”) on 9th June 1918 to certify that “Sgt. Purches was promoted to Sergeant whilst the 1st Battalion was on the Aisne in September 1914 and was with me in the Church after capture and wearing his Sergeant’s chevrons on 23rd – 24th October 1914.” These were the days immediately after the Battalion’s 5 day action to take La Bassée.
This was clearly not John William who had died of wounds in Boulogne 2 days earlier. A number of letters transpired in an attempt to separate the appointments of both brothers – purely it seems to make a pay allowance against the estate if a mistake had been made. The culmination of this correspondence is dated 18th December 1918, confirming that John was a ‘Substantive Sergeant‘ at the time of his death.
Grave: III.A.6. Died of wounds: 23rd October 1914 Age: 36
Personal: Luke was born in Davenham, Cheshire in the June quarter 1878, the youngest son of Michael (a Labourer) and Hannah Sweeney.
He had four older brothers and sisters, Patrick, Margaret, John and Michael. (1891 Census RG 12/2839) At the time of his enlistment he was employed as a Labourer. He was 5′ 4″ tall (1.625 m.), weighed 121 lbs. (8 stone 9lbs), and had a ‘sallow‘ complexion, grey eyes and brown hair.
On the 5th August 1906 Luke married Mary Jane Ashbrook at Northwich and they lived at 9 Firths Fields, Davenham, Cheshire. The 1911 Census (RG 14/21671) shows them living at 9 Whalley Road, Northwich, with his older brother, Patrick. Both brothers are employed as ‘Labourers‘. There is no record of any children.
Luke’s total effects were returned to his widow in March 1915. These amount to £5 5s 3d [£5.26 – equivalent to about £700 today – 2023), and a further £5 War Gratuity, 4 years later (about £330 today).
On the 1st June 1916 Mary Jane re-married Thomas Robinson, a civilian, and they lived at 8 Park Street, Castle, Northwich, Cheshire. From 1st May 1915 she had been in receipt of a Pension of 10s (50p – £65 Today) per week. On re-marriage she received a Gratuity of £51 14s 3d. (£51.71 – equivalent to about £5,750 today). This was a one-off payment in forfeiture of her right to any further pension entitlement.
Military Service: John enlisted into the 2nd Battalion the Cheshire Regiment at Northwich, Cheshire, on 15th December 1902, aged 21 years 8 months on a 3 + 9 engagement (3 years Active Service and 9 years on Reserve). He was at the time already serving with the 3rd Battalion of the Regiment (Private 6784). At the time of his enlistment his stated occupation was ‘Labourer‘.
After initial training he was posted to India on 23rd April 1904, returning on 31st January 1907. He transferred to the Reserve ‘B’ List on 3rd February 1907, after 3 yrs. 51 days. His conduct described as ‘Very Good‘.
His 3 years of Active Service, however, had not been without its difficulties. At Chester on 25th June 1903 he received 4 days CB (confined to barracks) for being incorrectly dressed. Five days later another 7 days CB for “urinating in barrack room“. On 23rd September he was “drunk in barracks” (admonished) and on 31st October he overstayed his furlough, for which he received 168 hours Imprisonment with Hard Labour (I.H.L.).
Into 1904 these minor offences continued, at Aldershot by now – on 1st January he “urinated in his bed” (perhaps after a good New Year) (7 days CB and pay for bedding), and on 10th March was 20½ hours late back from furlough again. A week later he was drunk in barracks again (admonished and fined 5/- [25p]).
On 12th April 1904, at Southampton, probably en route to India, he broke out of barracks at 8.30 a.m., missed parade at 10.30 a.m. and did not return until an hour later. He had to wait until 14th April when arriving at Colaba, for his 5 days CB for this one. On 15th November 1904 he was charged with being drunk, “ill-treating dumb animals“, using obscene language and creating a disturbance. For this he received 96 hours I.H.L. and a fine of 2/6d (12½p).
At the end of his 3 year “active” Services in December 1905 Luke would have returned to the Reserve List to complete his remaining 9 years. As a Reservist he was recalled to the 1st Battalion at the outbreak of War and his Medal Card shows he entered France on 16th August, so was one of those who escaped from the action at Audregnies.
He was probably one of the 64 N.C.O.s & men wounded between 17th and 20th October whilst the Battalion was in action at Festubert and Voilaines. According to the CWGC records and headstone he died at the Allied Forces Base Hospital, Boulogne, from wounds received on 22nd October 1914. This Hospital was the also known as the “No. 7 British Red Cross Hospital“, set up in the “Hôtel Christol“.
Luke’s MIC and Service Records, however, show he did in fact die on the 23rd shortly after admission to Hospital from “compound fractures to both arms and both legs from shrapnel“. (List 3870)
His headstone reads: “From his loving wife. Gone but not forgotten.” A nice sentiment as she had re-married Thomas Robinson in 1916 and headstones in their present format were not installed until the early 1920s.
Grave: III.AB.10. Died of wounds: 28th October 1914 Age: 34
Personal: Alfred was born in the September quarter 1880 at 10 Walker Fold, Hyde, Cheshire, the youngest son of John (Carpenter) (died in 1880s) and Mary Turner, of Hyde, Cheshire.
He had four older siblings, Sarah, Mary Hannah, Ellen and Samuel, and a younger sister, Alice. Before enlisting Alfred was employed as a ‘Coal Miner‘ (1901 Census RG 13/3792, when he was living with his mother and sister, Ellen, at 3 Patrick Street, Newton, Cheshire).
His Pension of 4s [20p – equivalent in value to about £18 today – 2023] per week was paid to his sister “Nellie” (Ellen ?), effective from 4th May 1917. This went up to 4s 10d [24p] in 1922! [This is equivalent to about £16 today.]
Military Service: Currently Alfred’s Army records are unavailable and were most likely destroyed by Second World War bombing. All that is known is that he enlisted at Hyde, Cheshire.
From his Army Service Number it is likely he enlisted on a 3 + 9 engagement (3 years Active Service and 9 years on Reserve) and probably in 1904, as a result he would have returned to the Reserve List in 1907.
His Medal Card shows that Alfred entered France on 20th September, so may have been one of the 21 men who joined the Battalion from the Reserve on 24th September whilst in billets at Le Mesnil
He was probably one of the 64 N.C.O.s & men wounded whilst the Battalion was in action at Festubert in October, especially on the 22nd, when “5.10 a.m. Enemy made heavy attack, and took the trenches at the point of the bayonet. Battalion retired to RUE DU MARAIS under very heavy fire. Manchesters came up in support.
8.00 p.m. Battalion withdrawn and went in bivouac at last E of RUE DE BETHUNE.
Casualties: Captains Shore, Rich, Hartford, 2/Lieuts Atkinson, Leicester, Greenhalgh missing, Captain Forster, 18 N.C.O.s & men wounded, 200 N.C.O.s & men missing including Sergeant Major.”
Alfred died at the “No. 7 British Red Cross Hospital“, set up in the “Hôtel Christol“, from wounds received on 28th October 1914.