Month: June 2014

Military Monday – Cyril Gostelow (1897-1916)

Cyril is my wife’s 1st cousin 2x removed. His parents are Fred Gostelow and Alice Stuffins. The common ancestors of my wife and Cyril are Samuel Gostelow and Emma Padley, my wife’s 2x great grandparents.

Cyril was born in 1897 in Barnetby, Lincolnshire. His birth is registered in Q1.

I haven’t been able to find any remaining military records on http://www.ancestry.co.uk or Find My Past. However I can piece together information from the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website – http://www.cwgc.org and from http://www.forces-war-records.co.uk

Cyril was a Private in the Lincolnshire Regiment and served in the 8th Battalion. His service number was 12513.

I know that Cyril was killed in action on 15 November 1916.

Cyril is buried at Ancre British Cemetery, Beaumont-Hamel, Somme, France

The information below is taken from the CWGC website.

Ancre British Cemetery is about 2 Kms south of the village of Beaumont-Hamel, on the D50 between Albert and Achiet-le-Grand.

The village of Beaumont-Hamel was attacked on 1 July 1916 by the 29th Division, with the 4th on its left and the 36th (Ulster) on its right, but without success. On 3 September a further attack was delivered between Hamel and Beaumont-Hamel and on 13 and 14 November, the 51st (Highland), 63rd (Royal Naval), 39th and 19th (Western) Divisions finally succeeded in capturing Beaumont-Hamel, Beaucourt-sur-Ancre and St. Pierre-Divion. 



Following the German withdrawal to the Hindenburg Line in the spring of 1917, V Corps cleared this battlefield and created a number of cemeteries, of which Ancre British Cemetery (then called Ancre River No.1 British Cemetery, V Corps Cemetery No.26) was one. There were originally 517 burials almost all of the 63rd (Naval) and 36th Divisions, but after the Armistice the cemetery was greatly enlarged when many more graves from the same battlefields and from the following smaller burial grounds:-



ANCRE RIVER BRITISH CEMETERY No.2 (V Corps Cemetery No.27), about 400 metres East of No.1, containing the graves of 64 officers and men from the United Kingdom (mainly 1st H.A.C., 11th Royal Sussex, and Hood Battalion) who fell in September and November 1916.

BEAUCOURT STATION CEMETERY, begun after the capture of Beaucourt by the R.N.D. on the 14th November 1916, and containing the graves of 85 officers and men from the United Kingdom who fell in November 1916 – March 1917. It was close to Beaucourt-Hamel station.


GREEN DUMP CEMETERY, on the South-West side of “Station Road”, between Beaumont-Hamel and the station. It was used from November 1916, to March 1917, and it contained the graves of 45 soldiers and one Marine from the United Kingdom.


R.N.D. CEMETERY (V Corps Cemetery No.21), in the open country midway between Beaumont-Hamel and Hamel. It contained the graves of 336 officers and men from the United Kingdom, mainly of the Royal Naval Division.

SHERWOOD CEMETERY (V Corps Cemetery No.20), about 700 metres North-West of the R.N.D. Cemetery. It contained the graves of 176 officers and men from the United Kingdom, belonging chiefly to the 36th and Royal Naval Divisions, the 17th Sherwood Foresters and the 17th King’s Royal Rifles.


STATION ROAD CEMETERY, on the South side of “Station Road”, 500 metres West of the railway. This cemetery was used, from November 1916, to March 1917, for the burial of 82 officers and men from the United Kingdom.

“Y” RAVINE CEMETERY No. 2 (V Corps Cemetery No.18), about 300 metres South-East of the present “Y” Ravine Cemetery. Here were buried 140 officers and men from the United Kingdom and two from Newfoundland, who fell in July, September and November 1916.



The majority of those buried in the cemetery died on 1 July, 3 September or 13 November 1916.



There are now 2,540 Commonwealth casualties of the First World War buried or commemorated in the cemetery. 1,335 of the graves are unidentified, but special memorials commemorate 43 casualties known or believed to be buried among them. There are also special memorials to 16 casualties know to have been buried in other cemeteries, whose graves were destroyed by shell fire. 



The cemetery was designed by Sir Reginald Blomfield.



The ROYAL NAVAL DIVISION MEMORIAL for the capture of Beaumont-Hamel is a stone obelisk erected beside the main road from Arras to Albert, at Beaucourt-sur-Ancre.

Ancre British Cemetery

Ancre British Cemetery

Military Monday – Richard Espley (1875-1915)

Richard is my wife’s 1st cousin 2x removed. His parents are Joseph Booth Espley and Christina Boyle. The common ancestor of my wife and Richard is Martha Espley, my wife’s 2x great grandmother.

Richard was born on 13 June 1875 in Macclesfield, Cheshire. He married Edith Elizabeth Wardle sometime in the December quarter of 1895.

Between getting married and the 1911 census Richard and Edith had nine children. Sadly three of their children died young and there were six living and shown on the census:-

Winifred May – born 3 April 1897
Annie – born c June 1900
Edith – born c September 1901
Frederick – born c September 1905
Horace – born c March 1909
Gertrude – born 15 October 1910

I haven’t been able to find any remaining military records on http://www.ancestry.co.uk or Find My Past. However I can piece together information from the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website – http://www.cwgc.org and from http://www.forces-war-records.co.uk

Richard was a Private in the Cheshire Regiment and served in the 2nd Battalion. His service number was 11961.

I know that Richard was killed in action on 15 August 1915 and died from wounds.

Richard is buried at Bailleul Communal Cemetery Extension in Nord, France. He is also commemorated on the Congleton War Memorial in Cheshire.

Congleton War Memorial

Congleton War Memorial

The information below is taken from the CWGC website.

Bailleul is a large town in France, near the Belgian border, 14.5 Kms south-west of Ieper and on the main road from St. Omer to Lille.



Bailleul was occupied on 14 October 1914 by the 19th Brigade and the 4th Division. It became an important railhead, air depot and hospital centre, with the 2nd, 3rd, 8th, 11th, 53rd, 1st Canadian and 1st Australian Casualty Clearing Stations quartered in it for considerable periods. It was a Corps headquarters until July 1917, when it was severely bombed and shelled, and after the Battle of Bailleul (13-15 April 1918), it fell into German hands and was not retaken until 30 August 1918.



The earliest Commonwealth burials at Bailleul were made at the east end of the communal cemetery and in April 1915, when the space available had been filled, the extension was opened on the east side of the cemetery. The extension was used until April 1918, and again in September, and after the Armistice graves were brought in from the neighbouring battlefields and the following burial grounds:-



PONT-DE-NIEPPE GERMAN CEMETERY, on the South side of the hamlet of Pont-de-Nieppe, made in the summer of 1918. It contained German graves (now removed) and those of a soldier and an airman from the United Kingdom.



RENINGHELST CHINESE CEMETERY, in a field a little South of the Poperinghe-Brandhoek road, where 30 men of the Chinese Labour Corps were buried in November 1917-March 1918.



BAILLEUL COMMUNAL CEMETERY contains 610 Commonwealth burials of the First World War; 17 of the graves were destroyed by shell fire and are represented by special memorials.



BAILLEUL COMMUNAL CEMETERY EXTENSION contains 4,403 Commonwealth burials of the First World War; 11 of the graves made in April 1918 were destroyed by shell fire and are represented by special memorials. There are also 17 Commonwealth burials of the Second World War and 154 German burials from both wars.



In the centre of the town is a stone obelisk erected by the 25th Division as their Memorial on the Western front, recalling particularly the beginning of their war service at Bailleul and their part in the Battle of Messines. The town War Memorial, a copy of the ruined tower and belfry of the Church of St. Vaast, was unveiled in 1925 by the Lord Mayor of Bradford, the City which had “adopted” Bailleul.

Bailleul Communal Cemetery

Bailleul Communal Cemetery

Military Monday – Jack Gawthrop (1899-1918)

Jack Gawthrop is my 3rd cousin 2x removed. His parents are Benjamin Gawthrop and Emily Ann Thurlow. Our common ancestors are John Gawthrop and Sarah Brown, my 4x great grandparents.

Jack was born about 1899 – his birth is registered at Hendon, Middlesex in the March quarter of that year.

Unfortunately I haven’t been able to find any remaining records of Jack’s military service either on http://www.ancestry.co.uk or http://www.findmypast.co.uk. I did find some details on http://www.forces-war-records.co.uk and on the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website, http://www.cwgc.org.

I know that Jack served as a Private in the 2nd Battalion of the Prince of Wales’s Own West Yorkshire Regiment. His service number was 52976.

Jack died of wounds on 2 April 1918 serving in France and Flanders and he is buried at Abbeville Communal Cemetery Extension.

The following information is from the CWGC website.

For much of the First World War, Abbeville was headquarters of the Commonwealth lines of communication and No.3 BRCS, No.5 and No.2 Stationary Hospitals were stationed there variously from October 1914 to January 1920. The communal cemetery was used for burials from November 1914 to September 1916, the earliest being made among the French military graves. The extension was begun in September 1916.



During the early part of the Second World War, Abbeville was a major operational aerodrome, but the town fell to the Germans at the end of May 1940. On 4 June, an attempt was made by the 51st Division, in conjunction with the French, to break the German bridgehead, but without success. Towards the end of 1943, eight large ski shaped buildings appeared near Abbeville. These proved to be storage units for flying bomb components and they were heavily bombed by Commonwealth air forces. Abbeville was retaken on 4 September 1944 by Canadian and Polish units.



Abbeville Communal Cemetery contains 774 Commonwealth burials of First World War and 30 from the Second. The Extension contains 1,754 First World War burials and 348 from the Second.



The Commonwealth sections of both cemetery and extension were designed by Sir Reginald Blomfield.

Abbeville Communal Cemetery Extension

Military Monday – John Espley (1883-1938)

John Espley is my wife’s 2nd cousin 2x removed. His parents are Daniel Tilstone Espley and Jane Roe. The common ancestors of my wife and John are James Espley and Martha Silvester, my wife’s 3x great grandparents.

John was born in 1883 in Stockport, Cheshire and his birth is registered in Q1.

John enlisted for service on 22 November 1915 at the age of 32 years and 10 months. His military service number was 550125 and he was assigned to the Army Reserve.

It appears from the records I have been able to find on http://www.ancestry.co.uk that John did not face active service in France.

John was eventually mobilised on 18 April 1917. There is a letter from the War Office dated 14 April 1917 posting him to the Inland Waterway & Docks Section of The Royal Engineers.

Although I can’t find details of the promotion in the records available on http://www.ancestry.co.uk it appears that John achieved the rank of sergeant major.

He was demobilised on 28 April 1919.

After the war John married Florence Stead in 1920 in Stockport. He died on 23 September 1938.

Military Monday – Amos William Espley (1893-1969)

Amos William Espley is my wife’s 2nd cousin 2x removed. His parents are James Espley and Sarah Wakefield. The common ancestors of my wife and Amos are James Espley and Martha Silvester, my wife’s 3x great grandparents.

Amos was born in 1893 in Stockport, Cheshire and his birth is registered in Q4.

On 7 September 1912 Amos married Florence Poole and they lived at 24 Long Side Street, Heaton Moss, Stockport. He was employed as a “carter”.

Amos enlisted in the army very quickly after was declared. He joined up in Halifax on 20 August 1914 and was assigned to the 8th Battalion The Duke Of Wellington’s West Riding Regiment. His military service number was 10920.

It appears from the records I have been able to find on http://www.ancestry.co.uk that Amos was stationed in Grantham in 1915. I haven’t been able to find any reference to service in France for example.

Amos “illegally absented himself without leave” from Grantham on 3 March 1915. There followed a Court of Inquiry on 1 April 1915 – see report below. The result was that Amos was “sent down”.

Amos William Espley - Court of Inquiry

Amos William Espley – Court of Inquiry

However I can’t find any record that he was physically found and incarcerated at all. There is reference in his military records that he was “struck off” as a deserter on 3 April 1915.

So I really have no idea what happened to Amos between 1915 and the end of the war, why he absented himself or what efforts the army made to find him.