Officers, N.C.O.s and Men of the 1st Battalion, Buried in Kandahar Farm Cemetery
The churchyard contains 443 Commonwealth burials of the First World War, 7 of which are ‘Known Unto God‘. (218 from the UK; 6 Canadian; 186 Australian and 33 from New Zealand) + 3 German.
The Commonwealth troops held this sector and therefore used the Cemetery up to April 1918, when it fell under German control, but was recovered in early September 1918 and used again.
Two men of the original 1st Battalion, Cheshire Regiment, are buried in this Cemetery. Use the links below to read a little more about each man and see where he is buried. Both men, in their different ways, brought great credit to their Battalion by their actions and bravery.
Grave: I. C. 11. Killed in Action: 17 November 1914 Age: 25
Personal: Captain Nicholson was born in Stonehouse, Devon, on 22nd January 1889, the eldest son of Robert Howard (a Royal Naval Officer – Staff Surgeon) and Beatrice Susanna (née Green) Nicholson, later of “Aulay,” Kidbrook Grove, Blackheath, London.
In 1891 he was living his mother and younger brother, Douglas Howard, at the home of his grandfather, John Wenman Warwick Green, a retired Royal Naval Officer (Fleet Paymaster), at 49 Kingston Crescent, Portsea, Portsmouth. (1891 Census RG 12/855).
[Huntley’s paternal grandfather was in the army, Captain Huntley Nicholson, 2nd Battalion, 42nd Regiment of Foot.]
In 1900 a third brother, Arthur Leslie, was born when the family were in Linlithgow, Scotland. In 1901 the family was living at 7 Viewforth Terrace, Aberdour, Fife, Scotland. (CSSCT1901_129) He was educated at St Helen’s College, Southsea, and the H.M.C., Scotland. There is no record of Huntly marrying.
In 1911 (Census RG 14/2602) Robert, Beatrice and their youngest son, Arthur, were living at 5 The Terrace, Royal Victoria Victualling Yard, Deptford, S. E.London. Huntly appears on the 1911 Census of Ireland as one of the “Residents of a house 6.2 in Henry Place (Dock Ward, Antrim)“. It is believed that this was attached to The Curragh Military Camp, predominantly to treat STDs.
In March 1916 the sum total of Huntly’s effects, amounting to £14 19s 10d [£14.99] were returned to his father, Robert Howard Nicholson. In August 1919 he received a further £45 ‘War Gratuity’. (These sums have a relative equivalent value of £1,700 and a little over £3,000 today – 2020.) Pension Records give an address for his mother as 25 Kidbrook Grove, Blackheath, London, S.E.3.
Military Service: Currently Huntly’s Army records are unavailable. However, he is with the 1st Battalion in Ireland in 1911 (see above).
He was gazetted to the Cheshire Regiment on 19th February 1909, became a Lieutenant in October 1912 and promoted to Captain on 15th November 1914, 2 days before he died.
His Medal Index Card shows that he entered France as part of the BEF on 13th November 1914 and was killed in action just four days later, on the 17th November 1914.
On that day the 1st Battalion was in trenches at Ypres and the War Diary records: “Battalion in trenches, started with exceptionally heavy shell fire followed by an infantry attack which however was easily repulsed.”
It seems that Huntly was recalled from the Cheshire Regiment Reserve of Officers and posted to the 2nd Manchesters at the time.
He is not named among the Cheshire’s complement of Officers in the draft leaving for the front in August 1914. Neither does his name appear in the Regimental War Diary, either joining as a replacement or named as a casualty.
In the various literatures associated with the 1st Battalion at this time he is not named as a casualty and is not named by Crookenden, the front page of his Medal Index Card (left) shows attachments to both Regiments, upper centre red boxes, and also, in the lower right corner, the date of his disembarkation – “13-11-14“.
On the back page there is a notation that the Record Office at Preston had forwarded a list of Officers of the 2nd Manchester Regiment eligible for the 1914 Star.
It would seem that Huntly was nominally in the 1st Battalion, but attached to the 3rd. On 15th November 1914 he is recorded in the War Diary of the 2nd Battalion, Manchester Regiment, as joining that Battalion. He was killed in action 2 days later.
In the 2nd Battalion (Manchester Regiment) War Diary for the 15th of November 1914 it says that: “Lieut H Nicholson joined.” This was two days before he died and the day he was promoted to Captain, so that accounts for any misunderstanding in his rank. But it does show that he was attached to the 2nd Battalion, Manchesters, and was fighting with them when he died.
The War Diary for 17th November states: “Our trenches were heavily shelled during the day. Casualties, Killed Lieut H Nicholson 1/Cheshire Regiment, Lieut Horridge 4th Battalion Manchester Regiment, Cpl Faulkner.
Wounded 12 men. Lieut A J Scully and 2/Lt G Leach admitted to hospital.”
All other Records clearly associate Huntly with the 1st Battalion, Cheshire Regiment. It seems that in total he spent just 4 days in France before being killed in action.
Huntly had been Brigade Machine Gun Officer and was killed whilst driving on the last day of The Battle of Ypres, by a “Jack Johnson” at Wulvergham. His Obituary reported that “.. his devoted servant Walter Drake who had been nearly 6 years in his service, was heartbroken when hearing of his death and immediately volunteered for the Front”.
N.B. One definition of a “Jack Johnson” was ““The largest shell used by the Germans. It is between sixteen and seventeen inches, and when it explodes it makes a shell crater about twenty feet deep. This shell is called the ’Ypres Express,’ as it reminds one of an express train as it tears through the air emitting a dense cloud of black smoke when it explodes.”
Grave: I. D. 15. Killed in Action: 31 January 1915 Age: 40 Awards: Mentioned in Despatches (1901); Distinguished Conduct Medal
Personal: Alfred was born on 6th September 1874 in Burnley, Lancashire, the youngest son of Henry (Tailor) and Catherine (née Grogan) McDermott.
He had four older siblings, Henry John, Catherine and Cornelius (died aged 17 months in October 1870) and a younger sister, Annie (1881 Census, RG 11/4154).
In 1881 he was employed as an “Iron Moulder” and living with his family at 4 Hargher Fold, Burnley.
Alfred’d mother, Catherine, died on 26th June 1883 and was buried in Burnley Cemetery Grave No 8772. (Her widowed husband, Henry, died on 12th September 1903, also buried in Burnley Cemetery, Grave No A10833. He had been living at 23 Grant Street, Habergham Eaves, with his daughter Catherine.)
When he enlisted, aged 18, in 1892, Alfred was 5 ft. 3¼ ins. [1.60 m] tall, weighed 7 st. 12 lbs. [49.9 kgs.], had a ‘fair’ complexion, blue eyes and light brown hair. His stated religion was Roman Catholic.
In August 1915 Alfred’s total effects of £12 18s 9d [£12.94 – about £1,700 today – 2023] was divided equally between his siblings, Henry, Katherine and Annie. As was the War Gratuity of £8 [equivalent to about £530 today] which followed in June 1919.
Military Service: Alfred enlisted in the North Lancashire Regiment at Preston, Lancashire, on 27th May 1892. He was posted to India on 10th December 1894, returning on 19th February 1896.
Alfred was promoted to Lance Corporal on 6th April 1895 and served in the South African (Boer) War from 11th February 1899 to 30th August 1903 (3 years 201 days).
During this time he was wounded in both hands at Kimberley on 13th February 1900 and was ‘Mentioned‘ in Lord Roberts‘ Despatch to The Secretary of State for War (4th September 1901) At this time he was also awarded the D.C.M.
He remained in England until his discharge on 5th May 1904, after 12 years Service. In addition to his Distinguished Conduct Medal (London Gazette, 27th September 1902), Alfred also gained the Queen’s South Africa Medal (3 Bars – Defence of Kimberley, Orange Free State and Transvaal) and the King’s South Africa Medal (2 Bars – 1901 and 1902).
It is not known when Alfred rejoined the Army but from his Cheshire Regiment Service Number (7721) it could have been very soon after his discharge from the North Lancashire Regiment. For example, Pte. 7632 Ernest John Conway enlisted in the 2nd Battalion on 11th July 1904, on a 3 + 9 Service Period. Nor is it known why he served under the name “Mack” rather than McDermott.
Alfred was a Reservist on the outbreak of War and was recalled to the 1st Battalion. His Medal Index Card in the name “McDermott” shows he entered France with his Battalion on 16th August 1914. A separate card in the name “Mack” has no such detail!
In the second half of January 1915 the 1st Battalion were in ‘Reserve’ at Bailleul, moving up to the trenches at Wulverghen on the 24th. They were relieved by 1st Norfolks on the 26th, only to return to the trenches at Lindenhoek on the 30th, relieving the 1st Dorsets.
Alfred was killed in action the following day, 31st January 1915. Unusually, for an NCO or OR (‘Other Ranks’) his name was recorded in the War Diary. The entry reads:
“Sergt. Mack killed in action. This NCO had been previously wounded. He was a gallant soldier. Just previous to being killed had patrolled to enemy’s trenches.”
In total Alfred had probably served his Queen, King and Country for over 22 years. He was clearly a very brave man.