Hamburg

Officers, N.C.O.s and Men of the 1st Battalion, Buried in Hamburg (Ohlsdorf) Cemetery

During the First World War, Hamburg (Ohlsdorf) Cemetery was used for the burial of over 300 Allied servicemen who died as prisoners of war.

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.

Hamburg (Ohlsdorf) was one of those chosen and in 1924-25, graves were brought into the cemetery from more than 120 burial grounds in eastern Germany.

This cemetery now contains 708 First World War Commonwealth burials. There are also 1466 Second World War graves.

The Cemetery contains 8 soldiers of the Cheshire Regiment, all of which were taken prisoner during the Battalion’s action at Audregnies on 24th August 1914 and subsequently died later in the War whilst prisoners of war.

Use the links below to read a little more about each man and see where he is buried. (There are some very interesting stories here!)

 

Private 8351 Frederick BAUM (A.R.) – ‘C’ Company

Grave:  V. H. 5.  Died as p.o.w: 5 July 1918    Age: 28

Personal: Frederick (James) was born in Carlisle Street, St Mary’s Parish, Leicester, in December 1889, the son of John Harold (Bricklayer in 1891, Bread Baker in 1911) and Rachel (née Payne) Baum. The 1901 Census shows that he had an older sister, Annie, two older brothers, John E. and Willy H., and two younger siblings, Harry and Rachel. (1901 Census RG 13/3008). In 1911 (Census RG 14/19317) Fred’s parents and the two youngest children were living at 41 Leamington Street, Leicester

At the time of his enlistment (1906) Frederick’s stated occupation was ‘Box Maker‘. He was 5’ 6?” tall (1.69 m.), weighed 119 lbs. (8 stone 7 lbs) had a ‘fresh‘ complexion, grey eyes and brown hair. His stated religion was Church of England.

On his discharge from the Army at the end of 1913 he went to live at the family home, 41 Leamington Street, Leicester. There is no record of Frederick marrying.

The “Register of Soldiers Effects” shows his total effects to the value of £98 10s 2d (£98.51 – equivalent to about £4,500 today – 2020) was paid to “Annie Scott“, sister and Administrator, in January 1919. A further amount of £23 (£1,100 today) was also paid to Annie in December 1919 as a “War Gratuity“.

She is his eldest sibling, Annie (Baum), who married Francis Edward Scott in the 3rd quarter 1908. She was born in August 1883 and the 1939 Register shows her and her husband running a pub at 71 Humberstone Road, Leicester.

Pt Baum’s Grave – Plot V.H.5.

Military Service: Frederick enlisted in the 1st Battalion the Cheshire Regiment at Leicester on 31st December 1906, stating his age as 18 years 0 months, on a 7+5 term of service (i.e. 7 years active service plus 5 years reserve). 

He had previously been a member of the Leicester Regiment (Militia), where his character was assessed as ‘Good’. After initial 3 months training he was posted to Chester on 18th November 1907. Further postings took him to Belfast on 14th January 1910 and Enniskillen on 10th January 1913. He received his 1st Good Conduct Badge on 31st December 1908 and his 2nd Badge 3 years later.

On 29th November 1913 he received a “Sobriety Certificate” to certify that during his last three years of Army service he had never been under the influence of alcohol. This was just before his 7 years active service came to an end and he was transferred to the Army Reserve, on 30th December 1913. At the same time his reference for transfer to civilian employment stated his conduct to have been ‘exemplary‘ and that he was ‘clean, industrious and intelligent‘. Also, he had been employed as ‘Company or Assistant Cook for 6 years‘. (He had however received a punishment for drunkenness in October 1909!)

His Medal Index Card shows that as a Reservist he was recalled to the Regiment 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 in the centre of the line, under Captain Dugmore. On 15th December 1914 he was confirmed a prisoner of war at Lippspringe. [One account of this camp says: Near Lippspringe a health resort six miles from Senne, a shooting gallery and assembly hall have been turned into sanatorium for prisoners.“]

At some time in the next four years Frederick was transferred to Minden p.o.w. camp where he died, on 5th July 1918, from pulmonary tuberculosis, most likely in the lazarette (a hospital for those affected with contagious diseases) attached to the camp. In total Fred had served 11 years 118 days with the Regiment. [The “Register of Soldiers Effects” confirms Frederick’s death in “Minden p.o.w. camp“.]

“Kriegsgefangenenfriedhof“ = Prisoner of War Cemetery.

He was probably initially buried at Minden but 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.

Hamburg was one of those chosen, and received 55 burials of 1916-1918 from Minderheide Prisoners Of War Cemetery (right), Westphalia.

 

Notes on Minden p.o.w. Camp: [According to the “Map of the Main Prison Camps in Austria and Germany” by Mrs Pope Hennessy: ” …The camp is three miles from the town and is surrounded by farms. It consists of a big square with six blocks of huts. Capacity 18,000. Many NCOs were concentrated here at one time.”

Minden was a straffe camp for NCOs. Under the Hague Conventions allied NCO POWs and above were not required to work to support the German economy. However, with a good percentage of its working men at the front, Germany relied on the labour of prisoners to contribute to the economy. NCOs could volunteer to work, however, this system seems to have been abused in some areas where recalcitrant NCOs were sent off to particularly bad camps where they received harsh treatment until they ‘volunteered‘.

The camp at Minden could, on the other hand, be used as a model of what a camp for prisoners of war ought not to be. It is built in a relatively unhealthy location, of poor general plan, and as administered, is more of an actual prison for the men, more particularly the non-commissioned officers, than the jail at Cologne, without any of the redeeming features of the latter.”  (Source: “The Prisoner of War in Germany” Daniel J McCarthy (1918) – now digitised)

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Corporal 7436 Henry LONG (A.R.) – ‘B’ Company

Grave:  III.F.1.  Died as p.o.w: 25 May 1917    Age: 33

Personal: Henry was born in Newton, Cheshire, in the September quarter 1883, the son of John (Calico Machinist) and Alice Long, of Commercial Street, Newton. He had two older siblings, Mary E. and James and four younger siblings, Joseph, Thomas, Clara and May. (1901 Census RG 13/3792). Henry was employed as a ‘Cotton Spinner.’

Henry’s mother, Alice, died in the December quarter 1905. The 1911 Census (RG 14/34980) shows him in Barracks at The Ridge Jubbulpore, India. After his discharge from the Army he married Mary Ann Minshull, in the 1st quarter 1913, and they had one daughter, Harriett Irene, born 9th February 1914.

From 31st December 1917 Mary was granted a Pension of 18s 9d (£0.94, or about £45 today – 2020) per week. At that time she was living at 1 Winsford Hill, Winsford, Cheshire. The “Register of Soldiers Effects” shows a sum of £34 11s 7d (£34.58 – about £1600 today) was paid in late 1918 and a further ‘War Gratuity‘ of £16 (£725 today) followed in 1919. [Both of these sums were split ⅓ / ⅔ between widow, Mary, and daughter, Harriett.]

Cpl. Long’s Grave – Plot III.F.1.

Military Service: Henry enlisted in the 2nd Battalion the Cheshire Regiment at Chester. Currently his Army records are unavailable, probably destroyed in Second World War bombing, but Henry’s  Service Number would suggest that he enlisted February/March 1904, aged 20, on a 7+5 term of service (i.e. 7 years active service plus 5 years reserve).

After initial training he would have been posted to India, and in 1911 he was at Jubbulpore. In March 1911 his service period ended and he would have been transferred to the Army Reserve.

His Medal Index Card shows that as a reservist he was recalled to the Regiment at the outbreak of War and entered France on 16th August 1914.

Even though he was initially from the 2nd Battalion, he rejoined the 1st and travelled with them to France. He was reported missing from the Battalion following the action at Audregnies on 24th August where he fought in the centre of the line under Captain Shore.

Hameln p.o.w. camp c. 1915

Prisoner of War Records show that Henry (“Harry” in the records) was not wounded and first sent to Soltau Camp, then on to Hameln Camp. His last p.o.w. record gives the date of death in “Lleeder“.

Almost three years after fighting at Audregnies, Henry died in captivity from one of the most prevalent diseases in the camps.

The “Register of Soldiers Effects” confirms that he died of “pneumonia“, whilst a prisoner of war.

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Private 6581 Henry William MOORE (A.R.) – ‘B’ Coy

Grave:  VI.F.2.    Died as p.o.w: 31 January 1918     Age: 34

Personal: Henry was born in Middlesex, in December 1882, the eldest son of Alfred (Bricklayer in 1891 [Census RG 12/2405) and Jane (née Smith) Moore. The 1891 Census shows the family living at 3 Camden Place, Bordesley, Birmingham.

Henry had one older brother, Alfred, and five younger siblings, Elizabeth, Florence, Joseph, Thomas and Ada. (1901 Census RG 13/2861, when the family was living in Cooksey Road, Bordesley, Birmingham). At the time of his enlistment his occupation was “Cycle fitter“.

In the March quarter 1907 Henry married Lilian Maud Mallabone and in 1911 the family was living at Court 22, Arthur Street, Small Heath, Birmingham. Henry was employed as a ‘Builder’s Labourer‘. They had two children, Henry William and Alfred Ernest. After Henry’s death Lilian moved back to 15 Trafalgar Terrace, Cooksey Road, Small Heath, Birmingham.

The “Register of Soldiers Effects” shows a sum of £30 4s 11d (£30.25 – about £1400 today) was paid to Lilian in September 1918 and a further ‘War Gratuity‘ of £20 (£900 today) followed in November 1919.

Pt. Moore’s Grave – Plot VI.F.2.

Military Service: Henry enlisted in the 1st Battalion the Cheshire Regiment at Birmingham. Currently his Army records are unavailable, probably destroyed in Second World War bombing, but his Service Number would suggest that he enlisted in May/June 1901, aged 19, on a 7 + 5 term of service (i.e. 7 years active service plus 5 years reserve). He would have been transferred to the Reserve List in 1908.

His Medal Index Card shows that as a Reservist Henry was recalled to the Regiment 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 in the centre of the line under Captain Shore.

Celle p.o.w. Camp

Prisoner of War Records show Henry died at the Lazarette at Celle.  In Mrs Pope-Hennessy’s, ‘Map of the Main Prison Camps in Germany and Austria’ the following is noted about Celle:  “Celle (Scheuen) – Camp a few miles from the town of Celle on the Aller, 28 miles [45 kms.] N.E. of Hanover. A training centre for German reserves. On sandy soil near pine woods.

Camp broken up in the autumn of 1916, but Reserve Lazaret I [i.e. a Hospital] (St Joseph) reserved for eye cases. 10th Army Corps

The “Register of Soldiers Effects” confirms that Henry died of “nephritis” (inflammation of the kidney), whilst a prisoner of war.

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Private 7134 John O’KELL (A.R.) – ‘B’ Company

Grave:  III. G. 7.   Died as p.o.w: 31 October 1918     Age: 33

Personal: John was born in Hale Barnes, Altrincham, Cheshire, 12th March 1885, the son of Thomas (Agricultural Labourer) and Mary Ann (née Hollingsworth) O’Kell. He had an older brother, Henry and a younger sibling, Alice. (1891 Census RG 12/2825). In 1901 John and his brother Henry were both working on Rossmill Farm, Hale, John as a ‘Carter‘, his stated occupation on enlistment. (1901 Census RG 13/3324).

He was 5’ 3½” tall (1.62 m.), weighed 119 lbs. (8 stone 7lbs) had a ‘fresh‘ complexion, brown eyes and dark brown hair. His stated religion was Church of England.

On 19th January 1907 he married May Hulme (née Slattery) at Knutsford Register Office. They had 4 children, Henry (b. 21st September 1907), John (28th January 1910) May (1911 – died 21st February 1919) and George (20th June 1913) and lived at 5 Paradise Street Altrincham. John also adopted May’s son, Samuel (born 13th January 1905), from her earlier marriage to Jeremiah Hulme. After leaving the Army John returned to his original job as a ‘Carter‘. (1911 Census RG 14/21527)

After John’s capture and interment as a prisoner-of-war in August 1914, Mary received the normal ‘separation allowance‘. However, in a letter dated 5th May 1918 this was stopped as she had given birth to an illegitimate child on 17th April 1917 and was expecting another child “by the same man“.

It may be assumed that the father of her later children was William Barnett, whom she married in June quarter 1919. May was informed of this stoppage, because of “her misconduct” on the 21st May. However, the allowance to John’s legitimate children was to continue. When John’s medals were issued in 1920 the accompanying letter stated that they were to be held in trust for the oldest son, Henry.

The same letter indicated that John would be (and could be) informed as he would be no longer required to make stoppages out of his pay under “Section 145 of the Army Act by reason of there being an Order of Court against him“. Rather bizarrely a copy of the letter was sent to John at Camp 411 Soltau, asking him to acknowledge receipt. It was stated that the Ladies Regimental Committee could afford the means of communication.

The “Register of Soldiers Effects” shows a total sum of £70 11s 10d (£70.59 – equivalent to about £2800 today) was paid in September 1919 and a further ‘War Gratuity‘ of £24 10s (£24.50 – £970 today) followed in March 1920. John’s widow, by virtue of circumstances described above, received about £13 in total (about £500 today) and the bulk of almost £80 (about £3150 today) was to held in trust for John three surviving children.

Pt. O’Kell’s Grave = Plot III. G. 7.

Military Service: John enlisted in the 2nd Battalion the Cheshire Regiment at Hale, Cheshire on 29th April 1903, stating his age as 19 years 1 month, on a 3 + 9 term of service (i.e. 3 years active service plus 9 years reserve). After initial 11 months training he was posted to India on 18th March 1904, where he remained until the end of his 3 years Active Service.

John’s Service Records show three misdemeanours, in May and June 1903 and January 1904, mostly for overstaying his leave. In each case he was admonished and received 2 days CB (confined to barracks). John was transferred to the Army Reserve ‘A’ on 29th April 1906 and to Reserve ‘B’ a year later. On his transfer his conduct was described as ‘Good‘ and he had gained 1 Good Conduct badge.

The Medal Index Card shows that as a Reservist John was recalled to the Regiment 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 under Captain Shore in the centre of the line. On 15th December 1914 John was confirmed a prisoner of war – War Office Communiqué 12452.

Like many of his comrades captured at Audregnies John was transferred to the infamous 411 Soltau p.o.w. camp. He died, on 31st October 1918 from influenza and pneumonia at Diepholzer, Hanover. The family were not advised until February 1919 as the War Office did not find out until a repatriated p.o.w., Private 7133 A Jackson, reported it.

(N.B. Pt. Arthur Jackson was in ‘C’ Company and also taken prisoner on 24th August at Audregnies. His number, 7133, is one different from John’s 7134, so it is likely they joined up at the same time and were, therefore, friends.)

In total John had served 15 years 186 days with the Regiment. Prisoner of War Records show that he died “Infolge Lungenentzundung” (”As a result of pneumonia’). He was probably initially buried near to where he died but 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. Hamburg was one of those chosen, and burials were brought into the cemetery from 120 burial grounds in Schleswig-Holstein, Mecklenburg, Oldenburg, Hanover, Saxony, Brunswick and Westphalia.

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Private 10282 Cyril Barrett RUTTER – ‘A’ Company

Grave:  VI.G.2.   Died as p.o.w: 7 October 1918     Age: 23

Personal: According to his Service Records, Cyril was born in Denbigh, Wales, on 15th May 1895, the son of Thomas Robert (Agricultural Labourer) and Mary Elizabeth (née Williams) Rutter of 25 High Street, Denbigh. He had an older brother, Ernest and two younger siblings, Leslie and Mildred. (1911 Census RG 14/34155) However, according to the BMD Index and the 1911 Census he was born in the June quarter 1896.

He was 5′ 8¾” tall (1.75 m.), weighed 123 lbs. (8 stone 11 lbs) had a ‘fresh‘ complexion, hazel eyes and dark brown hair. His stated religion was Church of England. On his enlistment his stated occupation was ‘Barman‘. Cyril was not married.

In January 1920 Cyril’s father, Thomas, received is total effects amounting to £1 11s 2d (£1.56 – equivalent to about £60 today – 2020), plus a War Gratuity of £24 10s. (£24.50 – £970 today).

Pt. Rutter’s Grave – Plot VI.G.2.

Military Service: Cyril enlisted in the 1st Battalion the Cheshire Regiment at Denbigh on 2nd December 1913, stating his age as 18 years 201 days, on a 3 + 9 term of service (i.e. 3 years active service plus 9 years reserve). Before joining the Cheshires he had been Private 5108, 3rd Battalion Royal Welsh Fusiliers for a period of one month, attesting in that Special Reserve Battalion on 1st November 1913. His birth details (see above) would suggest he was only 17 when he enlisted.

On 13th February 1914, after initial training, Cyril was posted to Londonderry, from where, as his Medal Index Card shows, as a regular soldier he travelled with the Regiment 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 his Company fought on the left of the line under Captain Dyer. Cyril was unofficially reported a prisoner of war at Mustelage, Germany, on 2nd September 1914.

Cyril died, on 7th October 1918, from pneumonia in Hospital at Nellinghof Neuenkirchen. In all he had served 4 years 310 days with the Regiment.

He was probably initially buried near to where he died but 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. Hamburg was one of those chosen, and burials were brought into the cemetery from 120 burial grounds in Schleswig-Holstein, Mecklenburg, Oldenburg, Hanover, Saxony, Brunswick and Westphalia.

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Private 7063 Harry SHERWOOD (A.R.) – ‘A’ Company

Grave:  II.G.2.    Died as p.o.w: 21 December 1918      Age: 36

Personal: Harry was born in New Brompton, Kent, in November 1882, the son of Robert and Jane Sherwood (or Hilling). He had a brother, Herbert and three sisters, Mary, Kate and Annie. However, they cannot be found in the 1891 or 1901 Census; Mary (married in 1908 to Charles Pearce, a Police Officer) is in the 1911 Census (RG 14/3896) at 22 Onslow Road, Rochester.

Harry was 5′ 4″ tall (1.63 m.), weighed 122 lbs. (8 stone 10 lbs) had a ‘fresh‘ complexion, grey eyes and brown hair. His stated religion was Church of England. On his enlistment his stated occupation was ‘Labourer‘.

Harry’s Service Papers indicate that he remained in India after completing his period of active service. It would appear that he married there and had at least one child. He returned to England in September 1910 seemingly having worked his passage home on a ship, according to his brother. The same source also stated that he had never known his brother write or receive letters from his wife in India.

On his re-engagement at the outbreak of War he claimed severance allowance for them, but failed to provide names or any evidence of their existence by way of birth and marriage certificates. As early as September 1911 the Army Records’ Office had been seeking details of his wife and child, asking Harry for the relevant certificates. Despite promising to forward them it appears he never did.

Again in November 1914 the Army Pay Office wrote to “Mrs H Sherwood” at 20 Fort Pitt Street, Chatham, requesting the necessary certificates in view of Harry’s claim for Separation Allowance on his re-engagement. There does not seem to have been a reply to this letter. Accordingly on 7th December a note confirming that no allowance was issued appeared in his file.

In a letter to the Army Pay Office, received 11th December 1914, his father stated that Harry had not lived with his wife for a number of years and that “he had been somewhere out in India and she has never been in England and we have not heard from her for some years and we do not know her address“. His brother also confirmed that Harry had had no communication with his wife, still in India.

By June 1919 Harry’s sister, Mrs Mary Pearce, now living at Onslow Road, Rochester, Kent, seems to have been acting on his behalf and receiving details of his death, etc. She admitted to having had a letter from Harry’s wife, but about 2 years before he returned from India in 1910. She wrote to make a case for her sister, Miss Kate Hilling (?) to receive part of Harry’s estate as he had wished, by letter, which she had already forwarded to the War Office. However, the Army continued to pursue the whereabouts of Harry’s wife, especially for disposal of his medals, etc. and even resorted to writing to various “Sherwood” around the country to see if they were any relation!

At this point the whole family seem to change their surname to HILLING. In a form completed by Mary she names father and mother, both deceased, as Robert and Jane ‘Hilling’ and the siblings Harry, Mary, Kate and Annie all with that surname.

Brother Herbert (Hilling) acted as Harry’s Administrator and in April 1930 received his total effects to the value of £121 18s 4d (£121.92), including £24 10s (£24.50) War Gratuity. [This total would be equivalent to a little over £7,000 today – 2020.]

Pt. Sherwood’s Grave – Plot II.G.2.

Military Service: Harry enlisted in the 2nd Battalion the Cheshire Regiment at Maidstone, Kent, on 15th January 1903, stating his age as 20 years 2 months, on a 3 + 9 term of service (i.e. 3 years active service plus 9 years reserve).

His time in the Army did not have an auspicious start. In April 1903 he was “deficient of small kit” and two months later failed to report to Hospital when Ordered. On 16th August he was drunk in Aldershot town centre, subsequent to which he was court-martialled at Aldershot on 22nd August 1903 for “striking a superior officer“, found guilty and received 56 days imprisonment with hard labour. The charge read that he had punched L/Cpl. Spreadbrow, an M.P. and resisted arrest.

Almost as soon as this sentence was completed he was court-martialled again, at Aldershot, on 3rd October 1903, for “Fraudulent Enlistment”. It seems that when he enlisted into the Cheshires he was already enlisted into the ‘Army Services Corps’ and thereby obtained free kit to the value of £1 8s 4d (£1.42), which he was further charged with losing. He was again found guilt and sentenced to 70 days imprisonment with hard labour and had his pay reduced to repay the money.

On 23rd April 1904 he was posted to India. Whilst in India, at Wellington Barracks, he was charged with “Causing a disturbance” (Feb. 1905); “Absent from sentry duty” (March 1905); “Trespassing in Hospital Matron’s quarters” (April 1905); “Improperly dress for breakfast” (April 1905); “Absent from drawing rations” (May 1905) and later in May again late for drawing rations. In July he was charged with lying to a senior officer, having a dirty rifle and losing his boots, then “Absent from parade” in August; “Quitting sentry duty ” (September 1905) and “Absent from tattoo and drunk” in November. For each charge he was confined to barracks for various lengths of periods of days.

Harry was transferred to the Army Reserve on 1st December 1906. Unusually, at the end of his 3 years active service in India he was offered employment and his C.O., being satisfied that this was adequate, granted permission for Harry to remain in India on his transfer to the Army Reserve. His address in India after this time was: c/o Messrs. Spencer and Co., Regimental Institutes, Madras, who guaranteed his employment as a waiter in a letter dated 19th November 1906.

In October 1908 he joined the Madras Brigade, at Fort George, then on 30th November 1908, still as a Reservist, Harry was transferred to the Presidency Brigade (Rifle Factory, Ishapur, nr. Barrackpore, Calcutta). A year later he had moved again to the Allahabad Brigade.

His Medal Index Card shows that as a Reservist (now back in England – see above) Harry was recalled to the Regiment 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 his Company fought on the left of the line under Captain Dyer.

Bokelah Hipstedt, Lower Saxony, prisoners of war, barracks

Harry died, on 21st December 1918, from “Spanish Sickness” (influenza) at Bokelah (postcard right) – confirmed in “The Register of Soldiers Effects”. Notice was received of his death on 22nd March 1919. Prisoner of War records state “Infolge Lungenentzundung” – As a result of pneumonia’.

In all Harry had served 15 years 80 days with the Regiment. Notification of his death was not forwarded to his sister, Mary Pearce, until 26th June 1919.

Throughout all his re-engaged service the Army was at great lengths to locate (unsuccessfully it seems) his wife and child (see above).

He was probably initially buried near to where he died but 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. Hamburg was one of those chosen, and burials were brought into the cemetery from 120 burial grounds in Schleswig-Holstein, Mecklenburg, Oldenburg, Hanover, Saxony, Brunswick and Westphalia.

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Private 8567 George WARDLE (A.R.) – ‘A’ Company

Grave:  VI. A. 3.    Died as p.o.w: 21 October 1918      Age: 29

Personal: George Wardle was born in Nantwich, Cheshire in the May 1889 (according to his service papers). He was the eldest son of Annie Wardle. She re-married Charles Lee in December quarter 1888 so George had half brothers and sisters: a younger brother, Charles Edward Ernest, and four younger sisters, Martha Jane, Rachel Annie, Lizzie and Ellen, of Crewe (1901 Census RG 13/3356) Annie appears to have been widowed as she is later referred to as Annie Tomkinson.

George was 5′ 3″ tall (1.61 m.), weighed 110 lbs. (7 stone 102 lbs) had a ‘sallow‘ complexion, brown eyes and dark brown hair. His stated religion was Church of England. On his enlistment his stated occupation was ‘Labourer‘.

George married Grace Rowlands at Chester Register Office on 28th June 1911 and they had two children, Dorothy Minnie (born 19th July 1912) and George Arthur (b. 13th July 1914). They lived at 8 Linenhall Place, Watergate Street, Chester. Grace remarried Walter Vickers in the December quarter 1920.

Effective from 25th August 1918 Grace received a Pension of £1 5s 5d (£1.17) per week for herself and their two children (equivalent to about £60 today – 2020). ‘The Register OF Soldiers Effects’ shoes that George’s effects totalled £79 18s 7d (£79.92) with a further £24 10s (£24.50) War Gratuity. In 1919 his widow, Grace, received ⅓ of the total (£34 16s 3d = £34.81) and the remaining ⅔ (£69 12s 4d = £69.62) was placed in trust for the two children. [These figures have an equivalent value of about £1,570 and £3,140 in today’s terms – 2020.]

Pt. Wardle’s Grave – Plot VI. A. 3.

Military Service: George enlisted into the 1st Battalion Cheshire Regiment at Crewe, Cheshire, on 20th July 1907 on a 7 year active service engagement, followed by 5 years on Reserve, under the name: George Lee. At that time he was aged 18 years 2 months.

He had formerly been serving with the 4th (Militia) Battalion. On 19th May 1914 George swore, on oath before a JP, that he had enlisted incorrectly under the name of George Lee and provided his birth certificate to show that he had been registered as George Wardle. His Army Records were subsequently amended.

George was posted to Bordon on 1st November 1907 and to Belfast on 24th September 1909. On 14th October 1910 he was transferred back to the Depot. He suffered a number of illnesses, being admitted to Hospital, twice in Cambridge in 1908 and 1909 and four times in Chester in 1910 and 1911. These tended to be for fairly minor ailment such as impetigo and bronchitis. He received his first Good Conduct Badge on 20th July 1909 and his 2nd three years later.

On 19th July 1914 he received a “Sobriety Certificate” to certify that during his last three years of Army service he had never been under the influence of alcohol. George was transferred to the Army Reserve on 19th July 1914, only to be recalled 2 weeks later. At the time of his transfer his stated occupation was to be a ‘Forge Labourer‘ and place of residence: Ballechin, Ballinluig, Scotland.

George’s musketry was ‘First Class‘ and his Army conduct ‘Exemplary. He is honest, sober, clean and attentive to his duties. A quiet, well-behaved, intelligent man, whose conduct in the Army has been entirely satisfactory. He has been employed as a cook for about two years and an Officer’s servant for about 18 months. Signed: M. F. Clarke, Captain. ‘. This was born out by his Regimental Conduct Sheet, which remained blank.

His Medal Index Card shows that as a reservist he was recalled to the Regiment 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 his Company fought on the left of the line under Captain Dyer. George was unofficially reported a prisoner of war at Mustelage, Germany (War Office Communiqué 12452).

George died in Hospital at Soltau prisoner of war camp (left) on 21st October 1918 from “infolge grippe” or influenza. In total he had served 11 years 94 days with the Regiment.

His death was reported to the Record Office on 18th February 1919.

He was probably initially buried near to where he died but 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. Hamburg was one of those chosen, and burials were brought into the cemetery from 120 burial grounds in Schleswig-Holstein, Mecklenburg, Oldenburg, Hanover, Saxony, Brunswick and Westphalia, including “25 burials of 1916-1918” from Soltau p.o.w. Camp.

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Private 8900 Horace WILLIAMS – ‘B’ Company

Grave:  VI. A. 6.    Died as p.o.w: 4 December 1918      Age: 29

Personal: Horace was born at Oak Cottage, Frankby, Cheshire, on 17th November 1889, the eldest son of Elisha (General Labourer) and Hannah Jane (née Sanon) Williams. The 1891 Census shows that he had one older sister, Rhoda, (1891 Census RG 12/2877). The family do not seem to appear on the 1901 Census, where 11 year old Rhoda is living with her grandparents, Thomas and Ann Williams, in Birkenhead. Two younger siblings have been born, however, John, in 1892, and Martha Ellen, in 1893.

The family reappear in the 1911 Census (RG 14/21944) when further younger siblings of Horace are named – Elisha Saxon, Audrey, Nancy and Charlotte Hannah. (The latter 2 are aged 4 years and 10 months respectively, and mother Hannah is now 53!)

It is unlikely that Horace married as in November 1919 his total effects to the value of £127 10s 9d (£127.54) were returned to his mother and ‘Administrator’, Hannah Jane. (His father, Elisha, had died earlier in the year. This figure included £36 10s (£36.50) War Gratuity. [N.B. £127.54 has an equivalent value of about £5,800 today – 2020.]

Pt. Williams’ Grave – Plot VI. A. 6.

Military Service: Horace enlisted in the 1st Battalion the Cheshire Regiment at Chester. Currently his Army records are unavailable, probably destroyed in Second World War bombing, but his Service Number would suggest that he enlisted in January 1908, aged 18, on a 7 + 5 term of service (i.e. 7 years active service plus 5 years reserve).

As a member of the 1st Battalion he would have spent the majority of his time in Ireland, based at Belfast and Londonderry.

His Medal Index Card shows that as a Regular Solider he moved from Ireland with 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 under Captain Shore in the centre of the line.

Over four years later Horace died in captivity, almost a year after the Armistice. ‘The Register of Soldiers Effects‘ does not give a cause of death, just that he died “at Lüneburg as a p.o.w.” Red Cross p.o.w. Records show that he died from “infolge grippe” or influenza, at the Lazerarett zu Lüneburg“.

[This might have been at Munster Camp, opened in 1914, near Soltau, on Lüneburg Heath. Like many of his comrades he succumbed to the influenza pandemic prevalent at the time.]

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