La Ferte-sous-Jouarre J-M

Officers, N.C.O.s & Men of the 1st Battalion, Commemorated on the La Ferte-sous-Jouarre Memorial

Surnames: J to M:

La Ferte-sous-Jouarre Memorial commemorates 1 Officer and 45 NCOs and men from the Original 1st Battalion, Cheshire Regiment, all of whom were killed in August and September 1914 and originally buried on the battlefields.

As the War progress over the same ground the identities of those buried were lost and their graves are now “Known Unto God“.

Cheshire names on the Ferte-sous-Jouarre Memorial

The La Ferte-sous-Jouarre Memorial commemorates 3838 officers and men of the British Expeditionary Force who died in August, September and the early part of October 1914 and who have no known grave.  

[Unfortunately Cheshire Regiment names were badly weathered at the time of the last visit.]

 

Lt. Frost’s name on the Memorial

40 of the 1st Battalion commemorated here fell at Audregnies on 24th August 1914. This includes Lieutenant Kingdon Tregosse FROST (left) whose body was subsequently identified as being buried at Wiheries Communal Cemetery.

Of the remaining 5, one fell at Le Cateau and four on the Aisne.

about  La Ferte-sous-Jouarre Memorial and other information

All of the men commemorated on La Ferte-sous-Jouarre Memorial, were with the original 1st Battalion who sailed for France on 14th August 1914.

Read more about .. about those with surnames J to M by CLICKING the names below.

 

  ….. the men of the original 1st Battalion – Surnames: A to C

  ….. the men of the original 1st Battalion – Surnames: D to G

  ….. the men of the original 1st Battalion – Surnames: H to I

  ….. the men of the original 1st Battalion – Surnames: N to U

  ….. the men of the original 1st Battalion – Surnames: V to Z

 

Private 7451 Joseph JONES (A.R.) – ‘A’ Company

Panel: 13    Killed in Action:  24 August 1914      Age: 30

Personal: Joseph was probably born in the March quarter 1885 in Aughton, Cheshire. ‘Joseph Jones’ is a very common name and his surviving records only name a sister (older?), ‘Martha Ann‘. The 1891 Census (RG 12/2896) shows two siblings of these names as the children of William (Waterman Bargee) and Jane Jones, living at 10 Middle Road, Poulton-with-Seacombe, Cheshire. (Joseph’s occupation in 1911 – below – could give this assumption some credence.) There is another daughter, Sarah, born between Martha and Joseph.

N.B. A note posted alongside this Census entry from a family member confirms that this is the right family for Joseph.

The 1901 Census (RG 13/2574) shows Joseph working on the Canal Boat ‘Sunbeam‘, the home of John and Mary Beech and berthed in the Canal Wharf, Stone, Staffordshire.

In 1911 (Census RG 14/21634) Joseph was living with his married sister Mrs. Martha Ann Grimes and her 5 children at 20 Gilbert Street, Runcorn. He was back employed as a “Canal Boatman“. He had completed his active service with the Cheshire Regiment four years before and had been returned to the ‘Reserve‘ List.

The “Register of Soldiers’ Effects” shows that in May 1916 £4 11s 10d [£4.59 – equivalent in value to about £260 today – 2020] was returned to Joseph’s sister, Mrs. Martha Ann Grimes, of 6 Norton Street, Runcorn, Cheshire. In August 1919 she also received a War Gratuity of £5 [about £225 today].

Pt. Jones’ name on the Memorial

Military Service: Joseph enlisted in the 1st Battalion, Cheshire Regiment, at Chester, Cheshire.His Service Papers are no longer available, but his Service Number (7451) would suggest he enlisted in March 1904 (e.g. Pt 7432 John Clarke enlisted on 26th February 1904 and Pt. 7461 George Allman enlisted on 18th March 1904)

In all cases their terms of service were 3 + 9, i.e. 3 years Active Service followed by 9 years Reserve. Joseph would, therefore, have returned to civilian employment in March 1907.

As a Reservist Joseph was recalled to join the 1st Battalion in Ireland at the start of the War. He subsequently 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.

Joseph was one of 8 men from his Company killed in action and has no known grave. [It is, of course, possible that he is one of the men of the Battalion buried in Audregnies Cemetery, “Known Unto God“.]

This possibilities has been given some credence by a post in a well-know research site, by a family member, which reads, in part, that Joseph was: ” … recorded as killed 24th August 1914 buried behind a farm shipping next to Cheshire’s headquarters but his body was never found after either mix up in bodies or grave was blown up again , there is a cemetery in Audregnies with 30 graves of Cheshire’s [sic] some unknown (reason) I believe he is one of them“.

The entry continues: “… we must find him as we want him back to be in the family grave with mum and sister“, which, of course, would not be possible.

However, Joseph’s ‘A’ Company was in position around and to the rear of the old farmhouse building, which acted as Battalion HQ on 24th August (right).

The claim is well worth investigation and the Author has approached the family member for more information.

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Private 7833 William JONES – ‘B’ Company

Panel: 13    Killed in Action:  24 August 1914      Age: 27

Personal: William was probably born in 1880/81 in St Thomas’ Parish, Stockport, Cheshire.  This is a very common name and his family background is proving difficult to pin down. There is nothing definite to identify him, and his family, in either the 1891 or 1901 Censuses.

It is known from Pension Records that William married ‘Alice Ann‘ and they had one son, James Henry, born 19th February 1905. However, whereas there are a number of “William”s and “Alice Ann“s who match the time line, all William appear to be still alive at the time of the 1939 Register. The is also no 1911 Census Record matching these 3 names.

The “Register of Soldiers’ Effects” shows that in August 1918 £3 6s 0d [£3.30 – equivalent in value to about £260 today – 2020] was returned to William’s wife, Alice. In December 1919 she also received a War Gratuity of £5 [about £225 today].

Notification of William’s death was not confirmed by the War Office until 13th August 1917 and on 4th March 1918, almost 4 years after he was killed in action, his widow was awarded a pension of 18s 9d [about £50 today] per week for herself and their son, James. At that time they were living at 20 Hindley Street, Higher Hillgate, Stockport.

Pt. Jones’ name on the Memorial

Military Service: William enlisted in the 1st Battalion, Cheshire Regiment, at Chester, Cheshire. His Service Papers are not available, but his Service Number would indicate he enlisted in 1905, most likely on a 7 years ‘Active’ service + 5 years Reserve.

Normally, however, this would mean he would have been returned to the Reserve well before the outbreak of the Great War.

Details of the Original Battalion do not show him as a Reservist. There is a 31 year old “W. H. Jones” on the 1911 Census of Ireland, as a soldier serving with the 1st Battalion in Belfast, but other sources do not tie in to ‘our’ William’s family.

As a regular soldier serving with the 1st Battalion in August 1914 in Londonderry, William sailed from Belfast with the Battalion, entering France on 16th August, confirmed by his Medal Index Card. As a member of ‘B’ Company he saw action at Audregnies on the 24th August, in the centre of the action under Captain J.L. Shore.

After just 9 days in France, Edward was one of 14 men from his Company killed in action during the Battle at Audregnies and now has no known grave. As is seen above, initially he was reported as missing and his death was not confirmed to his widow and son by the War Office until 13th August 1917.

If his Service Papers had survived, and as we have seen with other families in similar circumstances, there would no doubt have been a large exchange of correspondence as William’s family sought to discover his whereabouts.

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Private 7926 Charles Alfred KING (A.R.) – ‘C’ Coy

Panel: 13     Died of Wounds:  10 September 1914      Age: 29

Personal: Charles was born on 10th June 1885 in Haslington, Cheshire. He was the son of Samuel (Fitter) and Margaret (née Orrell) King. He had three younger brothers, Harry, James and Robert. In 1891 (Census RG 12/2854) the family was living on Back Street, Haslington. Ten years later (1901 Census RG 13/3358) they had moved to 65 Thomas Street, Coppenhall Monks, Cheshire, and Charles was employed as an “Apprentice Coppersmith“.

Charles’ father, Samuel, died in the March quarter 1910 and Margaret, his mother, was living at 44 Lockitt Street, Crewe, in 1911. She died in the September quarter 1916. Charles cannot be found on the 1911 Census, either in England or Ireland or with the 2nd Battalion in India.

In the June quarter 1913 Charles married Maud Hawkes, in Nantwich, Cheshire. Their child, Florence E., was born in the September quarter 1912, in the Islington, London, District. After the War, in the March quarter 1921, Maud remarried Frederick Houchin and moved to live at 21 Lockitt Street, Crewe.

The “Register of Soldiers’ Effects” shows that in January 1915 £2 14s 5d [£2.72 – equivalent in value to about £220 today – 2020] was returned to Charles’ wife, Maud. In May 1919 she also received a War Gratuity of £5 [about £225 today].

On 23rd July 1920 Maud also received a Pension of £1 16s 8d per week [£1.84 today] for herself and their daughter, Florence.

Pt. King’s name on the Memorial

Military Service: According to the “Register of Soldiers’ Effects” Charles enlisted in the Cheshire Regiment, at Crewe, Cheshire, on 17th May 1905. It is not known whether his terms of service were 3 + 9 or 7 + 5, ‘Active’ to ‘Reserve’ balance.

As a Reservist Charles was recalled at the outbreak of War and joined the 1st Battalion in Londonderry on 14th August 1914, before sailing from Belfast on the SS Massilia for Le Havre on 14th August 1914.

He arrived in France on 16th August, confirmed by his Medal Index Card. As a member of ‘C’ Company, he  saw action at Audregnies on the 24th August, on the right of the line under Captain W.E.L.R. Dugmore. He was one of the 199 men who answered Roll Call at the end of the Battle.

The “Retreat from Mons” continued for almost 200 miles (c. 320 kms.) until finally on Saturday evening, 5th September came the order: “Pile arms and fall out, we remain here for a few hours.

With these simple words, delivered in a small orchard on the outskirts of Tournant, a mere 18 kms (11.2 miles) from the centre of Paris, the Retreat from Mons was ended. The northward push commenced across the River Marne involved three strongly disputed river crossings, at the Grand Morin, the Petit Morin and the Marne itself.

The 1st Battalion was not involved in any of the battles to cross these valleys and the Battalion actually crossed the Marne at Saâcy before marching on to Bézu-le-Guéry. The following day the march north continued, covering a further 14½ miles to St Quentin.

Charles died on 10th September 1914 in the 14th Field Ambulance, which had been in action during the Battle of Mons and the subsequent retreat. He would no doubt have received a Military burial, but his grave was lost during subsequent fighting and due to the speed of movement.

The 1st Battalion War Diary, 9th September 1914 reads: ” CHARNESSEUIL – Left at 8 a.m. and marched via Sancy to Bezu-le-Query – Battalion shelled near Bezu and lost 3 men, 1 killed and 2 seriously wounded. Brigade on outposts.” [The CWGC Records show no Cheshire Regiment deaths on the 9th and apart from Charles, no more until the 14th.]

  The Battle of The Marne

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Private 7769 William McCANN (A.R.) – ‘D’ Coy.

Panel: 13      Killed in Action:  24 August 1914      Age: 29

Personal: The SDGW database shows that William was born in the March quarter 1886 in Northwich, Cheshire. He was the son of William and Ellen McCann.

Manchester Industrial School
Source: Manchester Libraries

I t has not been possible to trace William, his parents or any siblings on the 1891 Census.

However, the 1901 Census (RG 13/3296) shows that 15 years old William was a pupil at Bishop Brown’s Memorial School, Stockport, a certified Industrial School set up for the care of children who might otherwise become homeless.

In the December quarter 1911 William married Mary Winifred Mylett and they had 3 children, Joseph Patrick (born 2nd March 1912 – died 8th April 1917), Ellen (b. 9th July 1913) and William (b. 23rd January 1915 – who William would never seen).

With effect from 20th October 1916 Mary, then of 13 Pine Street, Brinksway, Stockport, received a Pension of £1 0s 6d per week for herself and her children. [£1.02 – equivalent to about £70 per week today] This was reduced by 3s 4d (0.17p) when their oldest child, Joseph, died.

The “Register of Soldiers’ Effects” shows that in August 1916 £20 18s 10d [£20.94 – equivalent in value to about £1450 today – 2020] was returned to William’s widow, Mary Winifred. In August 1919 she also received a War Gratuity of £5 [about £225 today].

Pt. McCann’s name on the Memorial

Military Service: William enlisted in the Cheshire Regiment, at Stockport, Cheshire. His Service Papers have not survived but William’s Service Number (7769) suggests an enlistment date in late-1904, on a 3 years Active + 9 years Reserve engagement.

There is every reason to suppose William would have done the same, which would have entailed overseas service in India and he would have been entered on the ‘Reserve List’ in 1907.

As a Reservist William was recalled at the outbreak of War and joined the Battalion in Londonderry before sailing from Belfast on the SS Massilia for Le Havre on 14th August 1914. He arrived in France on 16th August, confirmed by his Medal Index Card. As a member of ‘D’ Company, William  saw action at Audregnies on the 24th August, on the right flank under Captain E.R. Jones or Captain W.S. Rich.

By the end of that day William was one of 20 men from his Company killed in action and has no known grave. [It is, of course, possible that he is one of the men of the Battalion buried in Audregnies Cemetery, “Known Unto God“.]

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Private 7225 William McDEAN (A.R.) – ‘B’ Coy.

Panel: 13      Killed in Action:  15 September 1914      Age: 30

Personal: William was born in the December quarter 1883 at 15 George Street, Over, Winsford, Cheshire. He was the son of of John (Salt Boiler) and Catherine (née Hatton) McDean. He had 6 older brothers and sisters, Thomas, Rebekah (died as a baby in 1878), John, Robert (died aged 11 in 1890), Emily (died aged 3 in 1883) and Joseph, a younger brother, James, and four younger sisters, Maud (died as a baby in 1887) Lily, Mary and Rosa.

In 1891 (Census RG 12/2840) the family was living at 6 Winnington Street, Over. By the time of the next Census (1901 RG 13/3343) William’s mother, Catherine, had died (June quarter 1898). Some of his siblings were still at home with his father at the Winnington Street address. William and his brother James, however, were employed as “Salt Labourers” and were living with their uncle and aunt, Joseph (Saltmaker) and Jane Ashley at 14 Bradford Mill Farm, Over.

In August 1903, when he enlisted, William gave his occupation as “Box Maker“. At that time his height was 5 ft. 6¾ ins. [1.70 m.] and he weighed 8 st. 0 lbs. [54.4 kgs.]. He had a ‘fair’ complexion, dark brown hair and grey eyes. On 1st April 1909 William was arrested for “Assault Police” and the next day sentenced to “1 month Hard Labour” or a fine of £5 5s 3d (£5.26). This has an equivalent value of over £550 today (2020), so he initiall y went to prison but “was released on payment of fine 7th July 1909“.

The “Register of Soldiers’ Effects” shows that in April 1915 £4 11s 7d [£4.58 – equivalent in value to about £370 today – 2020] was returned to William’s father, John. In June 1919 he also received a War Gratuity of £5 [about £225 today]. It was Jane Ashley of 14 Bradford Mill Farm (above) who applied for William’s Pension, styling herself as his ‘Foster Mother‘.

Pt. McDean’s name on the Memorial

Military Service: William enlisted in the 2nd Battalion, Cheshire Regiment, at Winsford, Cheshire on 24th August 1903, on a 3 years Active + 9 years Reserve engagement.

This enlistment would have entailed overseas service in India and he was entered on the ‘Section A 1st Class Army Reserve List‘ on 26th November 1906. He was released from that a year later.

... Service with the 2nd Battalion in India at this time

As a Reservist William was recalled at the outbreak of War and joined the Battalion in Londonderry before sailing from Belfast on the SS Massilia for Le Havre on 14th August 1914. He arrived in France on 16th August, confirmed by his Medal Index Card. As a member of ‘B’ Company he saw action at Audregnies on the 24th August, in the centre of the action under Captain J.L. Shore. William was one of the 199 men who answered Roll Call at the end of the Battle.

The “Retreat from Mons” continued for almost 200 miles (c. 320 kms.) until finally on Saturday evening, 5th September came the order: “Pile arms and fall out, we remain here for a few hours.

With these simple words, delivered in a small orchard on the outskirts of Tournant, a mere 18 kms (11.2 miles) from the centre of Paris, the Retreat from Mons was ended. The northward push commenced across the River Marne involved three strongly disputed river crossings, at the Grand Morin, the Petit Morin and the Marne itself.

The 1st Battalion was not involved in any of the battles to cross these valleys and the Battalion actually crossed the Marne at Saâcy before marching on to Bézu-le-Guéry. The following day the march north continued at great pace with some early starts, but from Bézu to the River Aisne was another 50 miles (80 kms.) covered in just 4 days, from 10th – 13th September. (On the 10th, for example, they set off at 3.45 a.m. and did not arrive at camp at Louvry near St Quentin until 7.00 p.m. The the “Officers bivouacked in the deserted and burnt out kennels“. One wonders where the ‘men‘ slept!

Aisne Positions

The Cheshires cross the River Aisne (CLICK picture for full Map)

At 1.00 a.m. on the morning of the 14th September William’s Battalion crossed the River Aisne at Min des Roche in rafts made from wagons wrapped in tarpaulin sheets.

At 6.00 a.m. the following morning the Norfolks and Bedfords reinforced the Battalion in Missy and an attack was ordered on Chivres Hill after the guns had shelled the lower slopes.

Before this could take place Missy was shelled by the very heavy artillery brought up for the siege of Paris. 

The Battalion held on to all the defences of Missy till 6.00 p.m. when the Norfolks took over the Western half.  There was a continuous fire coming into the village from the woods on Chevres Hill all day and three men were killed.

[N.B. In addition to William the other casualties were:  Pt. 9991 William James Smith (‘B’ Coy.), and L/Cpl. 8097 John Whitlow (‘D’ Coy.). Also commemorated on the La Ferte-Sous-Jouarre Memorial.]

  The Battle of The Aisne

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Private 7034 James McDERMOTT (A.R.) – ‘B’ Coy.

Panel: 13      Killed in Action:  24 August 1914      Age: 29

Personal: James was born in the September quarter 1884 in St Anne’s Parish, Ashton-under-Lyne, Lancashire. He was the son of Walter (Cotton Spinner) and Mary (née Glazebrook) McDermott and had 4 younger brothers and sisters, Isabel, Walter, Joseph and George Willie.

In 1891 (Census RG 12/3279) the family was living at 5 Adelphi Court, Old Street, Ashton-under-Lyne. By 1901 (Census RG 13/3785) they had moved to 145 Wellington Street, Ashton-under-Lyne, and James was working as a “Cotton Mill Labourer“.

When he enlisted in 1902, stated age 18 years 6 months, he stood 5 ft. 3¼ ins. [1.61 m.] tall, weighed 8 st. [50.8 kgs.], had a ‘fresh‘ complexion, light brown eyes and brown hair.

On 3rd March 1907, after he was discharged from Active Service, James married Alma Allcock, at the Register Office, Ashton-under-Lyne. They had 5 children, Alma (born 3 December 1906), Eliza (who died as a baby in 1908), George William (b. 27th February 1909), Isabella (b. 7th August 1911) and Mary Elizabeth (b. 23rd January 1914). 

The 1911 Census (RG 14/24407) shows James and Alma, with 2 children (Alma and George), boarding in the home of Samuel and Mary Ann Andrew at 1 Colliers Court, Dukinfield, Cheshire. James was then working as a “Coal Miner Coal Face“, at the New (Ashton) Moss Colliery Dukinfield.

All was not always well in the household, however. James was taken into Police Custody on 21st December 1911 and two days later: “Convicted and sentenced by the Civil Powers to 14 days Hard Labour for deserting wife and family.” [Probably not their best Christmas!]

With effect from 26th April 1915 Alma received a Pension of £1 2s 6d per week for herself and the children [i.e. £1.13 – worth about £90 today]. (Their oldest child, Alma, was not included in the calculation as she was “Born before wedlock“!)

The “Register of Soldiers’ Effects” shows that in October 1916 £3 4s 9d [£3.24 – equivalent in value to about £225 today – 2020] was returned to James’ widow, Alma. In August 1919 she also received a War Gratuity of £5 [about £225 today].

Pt McDermott’s name on the Memorial

Military Service: James enlisted in the 2nd Battalion, Cheshire Regiment, at Stalybridge, Cheshire on 11th December 1902, on a 3 years Active + 9 years Reserve engagement. He was already serving with the 5th Battalion, Manchester Regiment.

On 20th September 1904 James was posted to India, returning on 31st January 1906, and was returned to the Reserve on 3rd February 1906.

As a Reservist James was recalled at the outbreak of War and joined the Battalion in Londonderry before sailing from Belfast on the SS Massilia for Le Havre on 14th August 1914. He arrived in France on 16th August, confirmed by his Medal Index Card. As a member of ‘B’ Company James saw action at Audregnies on the 24th August, in the centre of the action under Captain J.L. Shore.

James was one of 14 men from his Company killed in action that day and has no known grave. [It is, of course, possible that he is one of the men of the Battalion buried in Audregnies Cemetery.] He was initially reported as “Missing“, but later “Presumed Dead“. Including his 11 days in France James had served 11 years 257 days with the colours.

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Private 7049 William MASSEY (A.R.) – ‘A’ Coy.

Panel: 13      Killed in Action:  24 August 1914      Age: 29

Personal: William was born in March 1884 (Baptised on 27th) in Moreton, Birkenhead, Lancashire (1891 Census RG 12/2877). He was the son of John Godwin (Platelayer on Railway) and Sarah Anne (née Blades) Massey and had an older sister, Anna Mary, and 4 younger brothers and sisters, Louisa Oakden, Sidney, Louis and Evelyn Ochsia.

In 1901 (Census RG 13/3386) the family were living at 3 Moreton Terrace, Moreton-cum-Lingham, Wirral. William was employed as a “General Labourer“. After his time on Active Service with the Cheshire Regiment William returned to the same occupation in his parents home, 2 Smithy Lane, Moreton (1911 Census RG 14/21946).

When he enlisted in January 1903 William stood 5 ft. 5 ins. [1.65 m.] tall, weighed 8 st. 11 lbs. [55.8 kgs.], had a ‘fresh‘ complexion, grey eyes and brown hair. His stated religion was Church of England. His physical development was “Very Good“.

On 26th December 1911 William married Martha Elizabeth Evans at Christ Church, Moreton, and they had one son, William Ernest. born 11th November 1912. With effect from 14th June 1915 Martha was awarded a pension of 15s. (75p) per week, rising to 19s. (95p) two years later, for herself and her son. [i.e. about £60 –> £55, a reduction due to inflation rate!] 

The “Register of Soldiers’ Effects” shows that in December 1915 £1 13s 0d [£3.24 – equivalent in value to about £140 today – 2020] was returned to William’s widow, Martha. In August 1919 she also received a War Gratuity of £5 10s [i.e. £5.50 – about £255 today].

On 15th July 1917 Martha remarried Arthur Stanley (Labourer), a discharged soldier, and received a Remarriage Gratuity of £35 9s 1d (equivalent to about £2000 today). [The Gratuity was equal to one year’s widow’s pension, but the pension ceased. The proportion for a child continued.]

N.B. The Stanley family lived at 3 Moreton Terrace, Moreton, the same house as the Massey family in 1901 (above). Four brothers of the family enlisted in the first months of the War. Two were to pay the Supreme Sacrifice.

Arthur like his brothers John, Daniel and William joined the Cheshire Regiment. He was wounded and buried alive by a shell explosion in July 1916. The trauma resulted in a medical discharge due to severe shell shock, a condition that persisted for years.

Arthur’s older brother, Pt. 24514 John Stanley, 11th Cheshire Regiment, died of wounds on 17th November 1915. Younger brother, Pt. 24461 Daniel Stanley, also 11th/Cheshire Regiment, was killed in action at Messines, on 7th June 1917. Pt. 16329 William Stanley enlisted in September 1914, but was medically discharged 2 months later.

Pt Massey’s name on the Memorial

Military Service: William enlisted in the 2nd Battalion, Cheshire Regiment, at Birkenhead, Lancashire, on 6th January 1903, on a 3 years Active + 9 years Reserve engagement.

On 14th November 1904 William was transferred to the 1st Battalion, in Ireland, and on 21st January 1905, on completion of his 3 years ‘Active‘ service, was placed on the Army Reserve.

As a Reservist William was recalled at the outbreak of War and joined the Battalion in Londonderry before sailing from Belfast on the SS Massilia for Le Havre on 14th August 1914. 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.

William was originally reported “Missing from Bn. In The Field from 24/8/14“, but later “Evidence of death received by W.O. from unofficial source“. So William became one of 8 men from his Company killed in action that day and has no known grave. [It is, of course, possible that he is one of the men of the Battalion buried in Audregnies Cemetery.] Including his 11 days in France William had served 11 years 231 days with the colours.

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Private 7805 George Thomas MORRIS (A.R.) – ‘B’ Coy.

Panel: 13      Killed in Action:  24 August 1914      Age: n/k

Personal: George was born in Crewe, Cheshire, about January 1888 (Baptised on 22nd in St. Paul’s Church, Coppenhall, Chester). He was the son of Thomas (Blacksmith) and Maria (née Wilding) Morris and had 7 older brothers and sisters, Mary Anne (later Malone), William Eli, Emma (later Barker), Elizabeth (later Smith), Priscilla (later Footer), James Edward, and a younger brother, Charles Wilfred.

In 1891 (Census RG 12/3172) the family was living at East View, Gorton, Lancashire. By 1901 (Census RG 13/3354), however, George and his brother, James, had left the family home and were working as “General Servants” for George Sutton (Farmer) and his family, at Bridge House, Haslington, Cheshire (now a listed building – picture left).

In 1904/5 George enlisted in the Cheshire Regiment and should have been back in civilian life before the next Census in 1911. However, it has not been possible to trace him on the British Censuses and there is a “Thomas Morris“, of similar age, still serving with the 2nd Battalion in Jubbulpore, India. (1911 Census RG 14/34980, page 8).

The “Register of Soldiers’ Effects” shows that in June 1916 George’s total effects to the value of £5 2s 8d [£3.24 – equivalent in value to about £360 today – 2020] was equally divided between his 8 siblings plus his ‘Sole Legatee – Louis Thomas Eden‘. Each received 11s 4d or 5d [£0.57 – about £40 today]. In August 1919 Louis Thomas Eden also received a War Gratuity of £5 [about £225 today].

Pt Morris’ name on the Memorial

Military Service: George enlisted in the 2nd Battalion, Cheshire Regiment, at Crewe, Cheshire. His Service Papers have not survived but George’s Service Number (7805) suggests an enlistment date in early-1905, on a 3 years Active + 9 years Reserve engagement.

This enlistment would have entailed overseas service in India and he should have been entered on the ‘Reserve List‘ in 1908.

There is, however, some evidence (see above) that George may have extended his Service with the 2nd Battalion in India. George, though, is recorded as “A.R.” (Auxiliary Reserve) in the ‘official’  list in August 1914 and as a Reservist he would have joined the 1st Battalion in Londonderry before sailing from Belfast on the SS Massilia for Le Havre on 14th August 1914.

He arrived in France on 16th August, confirmed by his Medal Index Card. As a member of ‘B’ Company George saw action at Audregnies on the 24th August, in the centre of the action under Captain J.L. Shore.

George was one of 14 men from his Company killed in action that day and has no known grave. [It is, of course, possible that he is one of the men of the Battalion buried in Audregnies Cemetery.]

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