Officers, N.C.O.s and Men of the 1st Battalion, Buried in Cologne Southern Cemetery
This cemetery contains 2482 Commonwealth soldiers from the Great War buried or commemorated, including about 1,000 who died during the War itself. Cologne was entered by Commonwealth forces on 6th December 1918 and occupied under the terms of the Treaty of Versailles until January 1926.
In 1922-23 it was decided that the graves of Commonwealth servicemen who had died all over Germany should be brought together into four permanent cemeteries. Cologne Southern was one of those chosen and in the following four years, about 1,500 graves were brought into the cemetery from 183 burial grounds in Hanover, Hesse, the Rhine and Westphalia.
The Cemetery contains 3 soldiers of the Cheshire Regiment, who were taken prisoner during the Battalion’s actions during 1914. The three men buried here all fought at Audregnies and were taken prisoner on 24 August 1914. They subsequently died whilst prisoners of War.
Use the links below to read a little more about each man and see where he is buried.
Grave: VI. E. 24. Died: 16 April 1918 Age: 34
Personal: Joseph was born in St Thomas’ Parish, Stockport, Cheshire, on 21st July 1886, the son of Robert and Margaret (née Burns) Beard. Robert died in the June quarter 1886.
In 1891 (Census RG 12/2797) Joseph, his older sister, Rose Ann, and younger brother, Robert Henry, were living in the home of their uncle and aunt, James (Robert’s brother) and Elizabeth Anne (née Lawton) Beard, at 16 Crowther Street, Stockport.
On 30th March 1892 Joseph’s mother, Margaret, re-married Thomas Normansell, a widower, at All Saints’ Church, Heaton Norris, Cheshire. The Census of 1901 (RG 13/3279) shows them living at 34 Canal Street, Stockport, with Thomas’ children and grandchildren. The whereabouts of Margaret’s children with Robert has not been found.
The 1911 Census (RG 14/34980) shows Joseph stationed with the 2nd Battalion at The Ridge, Jubbalpore, India.
Joseph was a professional soldier who had served 16 years with the Regiment. Following his death his official next of kin was his married sister, Mrs Kinsey (Rose), 38 Canal Street, Waterloo, Stockport. His mother, Margaret, was admitted to Parkside “County Lunacy Asylum” on 27th May 1909 and died on 7th September 1909.
At the end of the War, in February 1919, his next of kin, half brother, Fred Normansell, and sister, Rose Ann Kinsey, received the balance of his effects, divided equally between them. The total sum was £86 2s 1d (£86.10, equivalent to about £5700 today – 2023). In December 1919 they also shared his War Gratuity of £21 10s (£21.50 – about (£1400 today).
Military Service: Joseph enlisted in the Cheshire Regiment at Stockport. Currently his Army records are unavailable. However, his Service Number suggests he enlisted in August 1903, probably aged 18, on a 3 + 9 term of service (i.e. 3 years active service plus 9 years reserve).
His Medal Index Card shows that as a Regular Soldier he embarked with the Battalion at the outbreak of War and entered France on 16 August 1914.
He was reported missing from the Battalion following the action at Audregnies on 24th August, where he fought on the right of the line under Captain Ernest Rae-Jones.
His official next of kin was his married sister, Mrs Kinsey, 38 Canal Street, Waterloo, Stockport, and, in July 1918, she received notification from the War Office of the circumstances of Joseph’s death as furnished by the German Government states: “The British prisoner of war, Joseph Beard, born on 21 July 1886, at Stockport, succumbed on 16 April to injuries received while making an attack on a sentry. Beard was engaged on the 15th at a work camp in unloading railway trucks. For some unexplained reason and notwithstanding repeated orders from the sentry, he refused to continue his work.
On the sentry proceeding to enforce his order with his rifle, the prisoner threatened him with his shovel. Being attacked for the third time, the sentry warded off the shovel at the same time striking Beard with the butt end of his rifle on the head, causing such wounds as resulted in the death of the deceased on the following day.”
The Stockport Advertiser, in its edition of 26th July 1918, comments “The above is, of course, the German official version of the unfortunate affair and cannot well be questioned. It seems strange, however, that Private Beard, who was always a quiet and gentlemanly soldier should meet such a fate after serving so long a term in the enemy’s hands.”
After the War, an official Committee on the Treatment of British Prisoners of War undertook a series of interviews and reports concerning over 7000 prisoners, but Joseph’s case was not one of them and the facts of the incident are now lost to history.
Joseph’s ‘Register of Soldiers Effects‘ entry states that he died in “Hos.: Bochum“, (probably St. Joseph’s Hospital, Bochum) so it is logical to assume that he was kept as a prisoner of war in Bochum jail (right), where he received the injuries described above.
Grave: V.G.4. Died: 8 November 1918 Age: 3o
Personal: Herbert was born in Moulton, Northwich, Cheshire, in the March quarter 1888, the son of James (Canal Labourer) and Jane (née Lee) Hampton. He had 6 older siblings, Kate, Lucy, Agnes, Mary and Stephen, a younger sister, Fanny, and a younger brother, Fred. (1891 Census RG 12/2842)
In 1901 14 year old Herbert was working as a “Cattle Man” and lodging on the farm of Edward Gibson at Rose Cottage, Warmington, Cheshire. (Census RG 13/3353)
(Herbert’s photo [right] was attached to a wreath laid by Sandbach, Cheshire, R.B.L. at the opening of the new Memorial at Audregnies, on 24th August 2014)
In the June quarter 1908 Herbert married Alice Thorley. Their son, James Thomas, was born on 28th July 1908. The 1911 Census (RG 14/21747) shows them living at 57 Middlewick Road Sandbach, Cheshire, and Herbert is working as a “General Labourer“. A second son, John, was born 28th April 1912. [A third child, Annie Hampton (Thorley) had been born on 11th April 1905, but was not recognised as Herbert’s child by the MoD.]
On 16th September 1919 Alice was granted a Pension £2 10s 2d per week. (£2.51 = about £165 today – 2023). At the end of the War, in 1919, Alice received his total effects of £99 19s 9d (£99.99) ⅓ for herself and ⅔ for her two children. This sum included a £30 War Gratuity. (£100 is equivalent to about £6600 today.) At that time she was living at 27 Middlewich Road, Sandbach, Cheshire. She died, aged 72, in Worksop, Nottinghamshire, in the September quarter 1940.
Military Service: Herbert enlisted in the Cheshire Regiment at Crewe, Cheshire. Currently his Army records are unavailable. However, his Service Number suggests he enlisted in August/September 1904, on a 3 + 9 term of service (i.e. 3 years active service plus 9 years reserve).
However, this would only make him 16 years old, although it was not uncommon for a young man to ‘exaggerate’ his age to escape from a poor background.
This being the case he would have left the Regular Army and entered the Reserve List about September 1907.
His Medal Index Card shows that as a Reservist he was recalled to the Battalion at the outbreak of War and entered France on 16th August 1914. He was reported missing from the Battalion following the action at Audregnies on 24th August, where he fought on the right of the line under Captain Dugmore.
Herbert died just 3 days before the Armistice. On his Pension Record Card the cause of death is recorded as “pneumonia“, a common cause related to the ‘flu epidemic, rife at the time. His ‘Register of Soldiers Effects‘ states that he died at “Bramhar“, presumably “Bramhar Camp Hospital at Bawinkle“, a prisoner of war camp that also operated in World War 2.
Grave: XVI. A. 56. Died (of wounds): 22 July 1918 Age: 32
Personal: John was born in Warrington, Lancashire in 1886, possibly son of James and Kate (née Lawley) Harrop. He had 5 younger siblings, Clara, Ada, Annie, William and Pearlie.
John’s Pension Record Card names “Kate Harrop” (“M” = Mother) as the “Claimant“, living at 12 Battersby Lane, Warrington. in December 1919 she received his total effects amounting to £98 10s 2d (£98.51 – equivalent to about £6500 today – 2023). She also received £23 War Gratuity (just over £1500 today).
Military Service: John enlisted in the Cheshire Regiment at Chester. Currently his Army records are unavailable, no doubt destroyed by World War 2 bombing.
Records published in ‘The Oak Leaf‘ indicate that John was still a serving soldier at the outbreak of War and his Medal Index Card shows that he entered France on 16th August 1914.
John’s Pension Record Card states that he “Died of Wounds” although unlikely being almost 4 years after he was taken prisoner. The “Register of Soldiers’ Effects” states that he died at Oberhausen prisoner of war camp (a city in the Ruhr region of Germany).
The p.o.w. records held by the I.C.R.C. confirm this and give his cause of death as “Infolge Lungen-entzündung“, which translates as “as a result of pneumonia“, a common cause related to the ‘flu epidemic, rife at the time.