Niederzwehren

Officers, N.C.O.s and Men of the 1st Battalion, Buried in Niederzwehren Cemetery, Kassel.

This cemetery contains 1795 Commonwealth soldiers from the Great War buried or commemorated.

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.

Niederzwehren was one of those chosen and in the following four years, more than 1,500 graves were brought into the cemetery from 190 burial grounds in Baden, Bavaria, Hanover, Hesse and Saxony.

The Cemetery contains 4 soldiers of the Cheshire Regiment, who fought at Audregnies and were taken prisoner on 24th 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.

 

Private 7008 Frederick RILEY (A.R.) – ‘D’ Company

Grave: III.J.4.    Died of wounds: 20 December 1914      Age: 30

Personal: Frederick was born in July/August 1884 at Stone Row, Marple, Cheshire. In 1891, aged 7, he was living with his grandmother, Mrs Mary Riley at Stone Row, and as he has the same surname it can be assumed his mother, Margaret, was not married 1881 Census (RG 11/3465) shows her, aged 18, living with her widowed mother at that address, working as a Throstle Spinner“.

Fred’s father is understood to have died although his Service Papers conisitently record “Not known“. His mother married Thomas Kennedy (Bricklayer’s Labourer) in the December quarter 1887 and moved to 1 Unsworth Court, Hyde Lane, Hazel Grove (1891 Census RG 12/2790). Between 1889 and 1903 they had 7 children.

Ten years later (1901 Census RG 13/3280) Fred was living with his uncle and aunt, John (Road labourer) and Mary E. Davies, still at 20 Stone Row. Frederick was employed as a ‘Wood Sawyer‘.

At the time of his enlistment in 1902 Frederick’s stated occupation was ‘Labourer‘. He was 5’ 5″ tall (1.70 m.), weighed 116 lbs. (8 stone 4 lbs) had a ‘fresh‘ complexion, blue eyes and brown hair. His stated religion was Church of England.

After his Army Service (see below) he returned to live in the area and worked as labourer on the canal. There is no record of him marrying. His Service Records list a number of half-brothers and sisters, but names his mother, Mrs Margaret Ann Kennedy, 4 Mount Pleasant, Hazel Grove, Stockport, as his next of kin.

In December 1915 Frederick’s mother, Margaret, as his sole administratrix, received his total effects amounting to £11 7s 11d [£11.40 – equivalent to about £1,500 today – 2023]. Later, in September 1919, she also received a War Gratuity of £5 [about £330 today]. Margaret died, aged 75, in the March quarter 1939

Military Service: Frederick enlisted in the Cheshire Regiment at Stockport, Cheshire on 18th November 1902, aged 18 years and 3 months, on a 3+9 term of service (i.e. 3 years active service plus 9 years reserve).

After an initial period at the Depot he joined the 2nd Battalion in Aldershot on 22nd January 1903 and served in India from 28th October 1904 until 1906, being transferred to the Reserve List in 3rd February 1906 after 3 years 81 days.

His conduct was said to be “fair” and his musketry skills “1st Class“. After discharge he was to live at 12 Market Street, Marple.

Almost from the start Frederick was in trouble with the authorities, being brought up on charges 10 times whilst in Chester and Aldershot, mostly for being late for parade, dirty on parade, drunk, abusive language or overstaying his furlough. The usual punishment was a few days CB (Confined to Barracks).

Whilst stationed at Calicut he was charged on 7th November 1905 with “Being drunk and using obscene language in the Canteen” and “Resisting the escort“, for which he received 48 hours Imprisonment at Hard Labour. Two weeks later, on the 21st, he broke out of barracks and received another 96 hours IHL.

After leaving the Regular Forces, but still a Reservist, he was arrested at Marple, Cheshire, on 1st May 1910 and sentenced to 14 days hard labour. His crime was stated as “Lodge out“.

As a Reservist Frederick was recalled to the Battalion at the outbreak of War and his Medal Index Card shows that he entered France on 16th August 1914.

He was reported wounded following the Battalion at Audregnies on 24th August, shot in the ankle and spent time recovering in a French Hospital. During the action his ‘D’ Company fought on the right of the line under Captain E.R. Jones.

Frederick was wounded again and taken prisoner almost certainly during the fighting around La Bassée between 15th and 22nd October 1914.

Stories from Limburg Prisoner of War camp - Independent.ieHe died whilst at a prisoner of war camp hospital (Kriegsgefangener Lazarett, Limburg, Germany) on 20th December 1914. (N.B.Lazarett Für Kriegsgefangene” translates as “The Hospital For Prisoners Of War“.) Photo – right – shows Limburg p.o.w. Camp.

In all Fred had spent 12 years 33 days with the Regiment.

He was initially buried at the camp 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. Niederzwehren was one of those chosen and in the following four years, more than 1500 graves were brought into the cemetery from 190 burial grounds in Baden, Bavaria, Hanover, Hesse and Saxony.

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The soldiers of the 1st Battalion listed below did not die of wounds received in action. The records show that they were taken prisoner on 24th August 1914 and died later in the War, in 1918, from tuberculosis prevalent at that time in the camps from infections received whilst prisoners-of-war.

 

Private 7550 Joseph J. DUDDY (A.R.) – ‘C’ Company

Grave: V.E.13.    Died: 4 December 1917      Age: 29

Personal: Joseph was born in Marple, Cheshire, on 20th May 1885. His parents were recorded as “deceased” on his Army records. He did have a sister, Catherine (Kate on 1911 Census, born in 1880), who applied for his medals after his death. In 1914 she lived at Poplar Square, Marple.

However, (confusing!) family history records suggest his mother was Mary Duddy (née Navin). The 1881 Census (RG 11/3461) shows her as a ‘Widow‘, living in Marple Bridge, with two daughters, Elizabeth, aged 3, and Catherine, aged 1. She was working as a “Washer woman“. Her husband, Thomas Duddy, who she had married in 1875, had died, aged 30 in 1880, so could not have been Joseph’s birth father.

In 1891 (Census RG 12/2786) Joseph was living with his uncle, Joseph Naven (? Mary’s brother) and his wife Bridget in Marple Bridge. Mary had died the previous 5th November and was buried on the same day in Grave H940, Philips Park Cemetery, Manchester.

The 1901 Census shows Joseph a pupil at Bishop Brown Memorial Industrial School For Catholic Boys, High Street, Stockport, Cheshire. At that time the School was run by Superintendent Sister Angela and 7 sisters of the Order of the Immaculate Conception. The priest of St Joseph’s Church acted as Chaplain.

  ….. about Industrial Schools

At the time of his enlistment in 1904 Joseph was employed as a “Casual Labourer“. When he joined the Cheshires he was 5′ 3” tall (1.62 m.), weighed 121 lbs. (8 st. 9lbs.) had a ‘fresh‘ complexion, grey eyes and sandy coloured hair. His religion was Roman Catholic.

In May 1919 Joseph’s sister, Catherine, as his sole administratrix, received his total effects amounting to £77 11s 3d [£77.56 – equivalent to about £5,200 today – 2023]. Later in the year she also received a War Gratuity of £19 10s [£19.50 = about £1,300 today]. His personal items, amounting to just letters, were returned to Catherine at Poplar Square, Church Lane Marple, on 26th May 1919.

A letter in Joseph’s Service Papers (23rd June 1919) requests that his medals be forwarded to “.. the deceased soldier’s brother, Mr. James T. Duddy, Cragg Fold, Hightown Heights, Liversedge, Yorkshire“. [James was his older brother, born in 1884.]

Military Service: Joseph enlisted in the Cheshire Regiment at Macclesfield, Cheshire on 28th May 1904 aged 18 years 0 month, although his d.o.b. above suggests he was 19. His original terms of service were 3 + 9 (i.e. 3 years active service + 9 years reserve).

He was posted to Wellington Barracks, Lichfield, until 15th February 1907 and on 22nd January 1907 was permitted to extend his period of service to 7 years of active service (+ 5 years on Reserve). He was posted to India on 16th February 1907 where he stayed until 31st March 1911, serving in Madras, Bombay and Secunderabad. He transferred to the Army Reserve after 7 years on 24th May 1911.

His time in the service was not without some difficulties, in keeping it seems with many of his comrades. He was treated for gonorrhoea on 3 occasions, twice in Lichfield and again in India. Whilst at Secunderabad he was also treated for broncho-pneumonia. In February 1905 he was on a charge for being drunk (7 days CB) and again for being absent (8 days) and the following month was absent and drunk (10 days) – all whilst based at Lichfield.

In January 1906, at Bulford, he received another 10 days each for absence and abusive language and later in month was absent from ‘Divine Service‘. In March and April he was absent and drunk again (three times) in each case receiving 10 days CB.

Despite all this he was promoted to (paid) Lance Corporal on 9th October 1905, reverting to Private on 22nd 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 at Audregnies on 24th August, being taken prisoner. During the action his ‘C’ Company fought on the right of the line under Captain W.E.L.R. Dugmore. (map right)

Joseph was imprisoned at Munsterlager and regularly wrote home to his sister and had been well until earlier in 1917 when he developed a problem with his lungs.

He was in hospital at Kriegsgefangenen Lazarett Meschede when he died of tuberculosis on 4th December 1917 at 11.00 p.m. (pictured left).

The War Office received notification on an official German List (Y85242) forwarded via the Swiss Red Cross on 22nd February 1918. (N.B. A ‘Lazarett‘ was a p.o.w. camp specifically for wounded men.)

He was presumably initially buried at the camp 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. Niederzwehren was one of those chosen and in the following four years, more than 1500 graves were brought into the cemetery from 190 burial grounds in Baden, Bavaria, Hanover, Hesse and Saxony.

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Private 9998 Harold GREGORY – ‘A’ Company

Grave: V.B.2.    Died: 20 February 1916     Age: 19

Personal: According to his Service Papers Harold was born in August 1894, the eldest son of Joseph Charles (Cowman on Farm) and Martha (née Morrey) Gregory of Village Green, Wrenbury, Cheshire (1901 Census RG 13/3364).

He had seven younger brothers and sisters, Frank, Sam, Charles, Eliza Roe, Joseph William, Sarah Eaton and Mary Martha. (Joseph and Sarah died in childhood.)

Harold has not been found on the 1911 Census but a reference in his Service Papers shows he worked for Mr William Shaw at Stamford Bridge Farm for about two years before enlistment, as a “Farm Servant“.

When he enlisted in December 1912 Harold stood 5ft 5¼ins. [1.65 m.] tall, weighed 9st. 5lbs. [59.4 kgs.] had a ‘fresh‘ complexion, hazel eyes and dark brown hair.

In June 1916 Harold’s father, Joseph, received his total effects amounting to £38 3s 0d [£38.15 – equivalent to about £4,250 today – 2023]. In November 1918 he received a further 6s 5d [£0.32 – about £25 today], but this record shows that Harold died in Sennelager p.o.w. Camp (see below).

In August 1919 Joseph also received a War Gratuity of £8 10s [£8.50 = about £560 today]. At that time Joseph was still living at The Green, Wrenbury, Cheshire.

Military Service: Harold enlisted in the Cheshire Regiment at Chester, Cheshire, on 15th December 1912 aged 18 years 4 months, and was posted to the 1st Battalion, in Ireland on 7th March 1913. His Terms of Service were 7 + 5 (i.e. 7 years active service + 5 years reserve).

Just over a year later Harold was stationed with the 1st Battalion in Ireland at the start of the War. He arrived in France on 16th August, confirmed by his Medal Index Card.

As a member of ‘A’ Company, he  saw action at Audregnies on the 24th August, on the left of the line under Captain A. J. L. Dyer.

Harold was taken prisoner during the fighting. The War Office “Officially accepted” Harold’s death “as on 20-2-16, Pris. of War“. The ‘Register of Soldiers Effects‘ and Prisoner of War records show that Harold died of pulmonary tuberculosis on 20th February 1916 at Kriegsgefangenen Lazaret Sennelager p.o.w. Camp. Including 1 year 189 days in captivity Harold had served 3 years 98 days with the Colours.

Harold was probably buried at the camp 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. Niederzwehren Cemetery was one of those chosen and in the following four years, more than 1500 graves were brought into the cemetery from 190 burial grounds in Baden, Bavaria, Hanover, Hesse and Saxony.

Sources:  ‘Sixteen Months in Four German Prisons Henry C Mahoney gives an account of an internee at Senne during 1914

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Private 7424 William LATHAM (A.R.) – ‘B’ Company

Grave: IV.A.15.    Died: 9 November 1918    Age: 32/3

Personal: According to his Service Papers William was born in Davenham, Cheshire, in July 1885, however, Birth Records indicate he was a year younger. His father was Eli Johnson (Saltboiler) and his mother Ann Latham.

William had 5 older sisters, Harriett Jane, Eliza, Emily, Katherine and Fanny, and a younger brother, Eli. All the children had the surname ‘Latham‘.

In 1891 (Census RG 12/2840) Eli (Snr.) and Ann were both designated as widowed. They, and their 7 children, were living at 23 Church Street, Over, Cheshire. Ten years later (1901 Census RG 13/3343) they had moved to 93 Station Road, Wharton, Cheshire.

When William enlisted in 1904 he stood 5 ft. 7½ ins [1.71 m.] tall, weighed 9 st. 13 lbs. [63 kgs.], had a ‘sallow‘ complexion, grey eyes and brown hair. His stated occupation was ‘Labourer‘. After 3 years he was discharged to live at 89 Warmingham Road, Coppenhall, Crewe, Cheshire.

Although William had long left the family home, the 1911 Census (RG 14/21695) shows Eli and Ann still living at the Station Road address with the same surname. The Census states they had been married for 37 years and had had 5 children, only Eli was still living at home. Two grandchildren, Ernest, aged 16, and Harry, aged 10, both surname Latham were also living with them.  Ann died in January 1913, aged 61, Eli 10 years later, aged 68.

On 12th May 1907 William married Alice (Lillie) Jane Harris at St Editha’s Church, Tamworth, Staffordshire. They had three sons, William Harvey, born on 7th February 1908, Arthur Harris, born 18th October 1911, and Harold, born 22nd August 1914 (2 days before William was captured at the Battle of Audregnies).

Harold died on 29th November 1915, so William would never have known him. Strangely, Harold’s Death Certificate has his sex as “Female“. The cause of death was “Syncope due to Convulsions” (possibly epileptic seizure).

Even though William died in November 1918, Lillie was not notified of his death until the 3rd March 1919.

In July 1919 William’s total effects amounting to £77 10s 8d [£77.53 – equivalent to about £5,100 today – 2023] was divided equally between his widow, Lillie, and placed in trust for his two surviving children, William and Arthur. In January 1920 they received a War Gratuity of £25 similarly divided. [£25 = about £1450 today]

William’s Pension Record Card shows that with effect from 8th September 1919 Lillie received a Pension of £1 5s 5d per week for herself and the children. (£1.27 – equivalent to about £85 today – 2023) The same record states that William died from: “Grippe, whilst prisoner of war“. [“Grippe” was an old name for “Influenza”, very prevalent at the time.]

At that time the family was living at 20 Oxford Street, Grappenhall, Cheshire. Lillie died, aged 52, at Crewe, Cheshire, on 8th November 1936.

Military Service: William enlisted in the Cheshire Regiment at Chester, Cheshire, on 24th February 1904 aged 18 years 7 months (probably only 17 years), and was initially posted to the 2nd Battalion on 14th June 1904. On 12th November 1904 he was posted to the 1st Battalion, serving in Ireland. His Terms of Service were 3 + 9 (i.e. 3 years active service + 9 years reserve).

He was transferred to the Army Reserve 23rd February 1907 and his Service Record endorsed: “He has been employed as an Officer’s servant for about 15 months“. William’s conduct was: “Very Good, Steady and Sober“, and that he had already got employment as a “Labourer“.

His Medal Index Card shows that as a Reservist William was recalled to the Regiment at the outbreak of War and entered France on 16th August 1914. He was reported missing “In the field” from the Battalion at Audregnies on 24th August, being taken prisoner. As a member of ‘B’ Company he would have fought on the right of the line under Captain J.L  Shore.

The ICRC Archive shows that when William was captured he was suffering from “Wunden am R. Brust und R. Hűfte Soltau” (i.e. “Wounds on right chest and right hip” and that he was a prisoner in Soltau Prisoner of War Camp.

William’s Pension Record Card shows that he died from: “Grippe, whilst prisoner of war” at ‘Nieder Sachiderfen‘, however, this location has not been found. [“Grippe” was an old name for “Influenza”, very prevalent at the time.] The photo – left – shows a burial party at Soltau p.o.w. Camp.

In total William served 14 years 259 days with the Colours, the last 4 years 78 days as a prisoner of war.

He was initially buried at the camp 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. Niederzwehren was one of those chosen and in the following four years, more than 1500 graves were brought into the cemetery from 190 burial grounds in Baden, Bavaria, Hanover, Hesse and Saxony.

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