Military Monday

Military Monday – Henry John Grainger Musgrove (1892-1917)

Henry John Grainger Musgrove is my 1st cousin 2x removed. His parents are Joseph Musgrove and Bridget Maria Grainger. Our common ancestors are John Musgrove and Catherine Ainsworth, my 2x great grandparents.

Henry was the first of ten children by Joseph and Bridget. He was born on 9 April 1892 and baptised at St. James church, Clitheroe, Lancashire on 29 May 1892.

In the 1911 census Henry’s occupation was given as “baker”.

Unfortunately I haven’t been able to find any remaining records of Henry’s military service. However I know from the newspaper article below that he enlisted with the King’s Own Royal Lancaster Regiment on 11 December 1915. His service number was 21851 and at the time of his death on 24 June 1917 he was serving with the 7th Battalion.

The following article appeared in the Clitheroe Advertiser and Times on 29 June 1917.

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HOW PRIVATE H. MUSGROVE MET HIS DEATH

“It is my sad duty to write and inform you that I buried your son, yesterday (the 24th inst.). He was killed whilst with a working party, the previous night, and as our battalion is close at hand, Captain Kendall asked me to take charge of the burial. I expect the Authorities will inform you in due course, of the place of burial, and that they will erect a cross over his grave. Captain Kendall spoke in the very highest terms of your son’s bravery and usefulness as a soldier, and his death is much lamented by all his comrades. He has given his life for the greatest of all causes, and he now sleeps in an honoured grave, fondly remembered by all who knew him. May God bless and comfort you and all sorrowing relatives.”

The above letter, signed by the Rev. R. Kelso, Chaplain to the Royal Irish Rifles, has been received by Mr. Musgrove, Wilkin Street, and refers to his son, Private Hy. Musgrove, King’s Royal Lancaster Regt., who was 25 years of age, and enlisted on the 11th December, 1915. Deceased was well known throughout the district, being formerly in the employ of Mr. Dawson, Shaw Bridge. At the time he joined the Army, however, he was engaged as a baker for the Billington and Whalley Co-operative Society. He had been in France 13 months.

A couple of weeks later the following article was published in the Clitheroe Advertiser and Times on 13 July 1917

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PRIVATE HENRY J. G. MUSGROVE

Official confirmation of the death in action of Private Henry J. G. Musgrove, King’s Own Royal Lancaster Regt., was received on Friday last. He was the eldest son of Mr. and Mrs. Jos. Musgrove, 66, Wilkin Street, a single man aged 25, and was, formerly employed by the Billington and Whalley Co-operative Society. He joined the forces in December, 1915, and went to France the following April. The circumstances under which he met death are given by his C.O. in a letter which is appended. Mr. and Mrs. Musgrove, who are to be commiserated with in their great loss, have two other sons in France, and one in training.

The first intimation of Private Musgrove’s untimely end came from Captain Pobert Kelso, Chaplain to the 13th Royal Irish Rifles: “It is my sad duty to wrote and inform you that I buried your son, yesterday (the 24th inst.). He was killed whilst with a working party, the previous night, ands our battalion is close at hand, Captain Kendall asked me to take charge of the burial. I expect the Authorities will inform you in due course, of the place of burial, and that they will erect a cross over his grave. Captain Kendall spoke in the very highest terms of your son’s bravery and usefulness as a soldier, and his death is much lamented by all his comrades. He has given his life for the greatest of all causes, and he now sleeps in an honoured grave, fondly remembered by all who knew him. May God bless and comfort you and all sorrowing relatives.”

Captain Kendall, writing on the 2nd inst., said: “It is with the deepest regret that I write to tell you, in case you have not already heard from other sources, of the death in action of your son, No. 21,851 Private Musgrove, of this regiment. He was killed while working in a trench at night, which work was part of the general operations in the Messines ridge. A shell landed in the midst of his party, causing immediate death to him and one of his comrades. I cannot tell you how sorry I am to lose him from my company, as he had many times proved himself a brave and valuable man. On one occasion, a few days before his death, he had volunteered to carry ammunition through heavy fire, and, altogether, was one of the men whom we could least afford to lose. I can only hope that the fact that he died a noble death, and also the fact that we miss him very much out here, may help to lighten your great sorrow.”

Private Musgrove had been connected with St. Mary’s Sunday School from childhood, and a hymn was sung to his memory and reference made to his death, on Sunday last. A memorial service, conducted by the Vicar, was held in the Church on Wednesday night.

Henry is buried at Wytschaete Military Cemetery in Belgium.

The following information is taken from the Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) website.

Wytschaete (now Wijtschate) was taken by the Germans early in November 1914. It was recovered by Commonwealth forces during the Battle of Messines on 7 June 1917, but fell into German hands once more on 16 April 1918. The village was recovered for the last time on 28 September. The cemetery was made after the Armistice when graves were brought in from isolated positions surrounding Wytschaete and the following small battlefield cemeteries:- REST AND BE THANKFUL FARM, KEMMEL: 23 UK burials (13 of them 2nd Suffolks), mostly of 1915. R.E. (BEAVER) FARM, KEMMEL: 18 Royal Engineer and four Canadian Engineer burials of 1915-1917. The CEMETERY NEAR ROSSIGNOL ESTAMINET, KEMMEL: 18 UK burials (11 of the 1st Wiltshire Regiment), of January-April 1915. SOMER FARM CEMETERY No.2, WYTSCHAETE: 13 UK burials made by IXth Corps in June 1917. GORDON CEMETERY, KEMMEL: 19 UK burials (14 of them 1st Gordon Highlanders) of January-May 1915. There are now 1,002 servicemen of the First World War buried or commemorated in this cemetery. 673 of the burials are unidentified, but there are special memorials to 16 casualties known or believed to be buried among them. Other special memorials commemorate casualties known to have been buried at the Cemetery near Rossignol Estaminet, RE (Beaver) Farm and Rest and be Thankful Farm, whose graves could not be found on concentration. The cemetery was designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens.

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Wytschaete Military Cemetery

The article published in the Clitheroe Advertiser and Times on 19 July 1917 refers to three other brothers of Henry – at that time two were already in France and the other was in training.

These brothers were James, Albert and Tom. I am very happy to say that all three survived the war.

The Clitheroe Advertiser and Times published another article about the family on 19 October 1917.

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There are some pleasant incidents even in France, amid all the horrors and suffering entailed by the carnage of war. One such happened last Friday, when brothers Tom and Jim Musgrove (sons of Mr. and Mrs. Musgrove, Wilkin Street), met for the first time in two years. Each has since written to his parents saying how well the other looked, and what a pleasure it was to meet after such a long interval. Jim, who is attached to the Lancs. Fusiliers, has been at the front two years, and Tom, who was on his way to the Blue Cross hospital with a horse when the unexpected meeting took place, has been out with the East Lancs. nine months. Mr. and Mrs. Musgrove lost a son, henry, in action, and a fourth son, Albert, is a driver in the R.F.A., and is also across the Channel.

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Military Monday – John Edward Lord (1917-1944)

John Edward Lord is the husband of my 1st cousin 1x removed, Marjorie Musgrove. Marjorie’s parents are James Musgrove and Edith Jane Hibble. Our common ancestors are Joseph Musgrove and Elizabeth Ann Turner, my great grandparents.

John Edward was born in Clitheroe, Lancashire on 16 December 1917 to parents Edmund and Betty Lord (nee Capstick).

John and Marjorie married on 19 August 1939 at Clitheroe Congregational Church – I posted a newspaper report of their marriage last week – here. They had one daughter, Mary Patricia who was born in 1940.

John served in the 2nd Battalion, Coldstream Guards in WW2. His service number was 2659738.

In the Winter months of 1944 the 2nd Coldstream Guards took part in the Battle for Monte Ornito in the mountains of Italy from 8 February to 20 February. It was in this battle that John lost his life. According to the newspaper reports below John suffered chest wounds on 17th February and died in hospital on 20 February.

Clitheroe Advertiser and Times – 3 March 1944

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GUARDSMAN KILLED IN ACTION

News was received by his wife yesterday that Guardsman John Edward Lord, eldest son of Mr and Mrs E Lord, of 29, Pendle Road, Clitheroe, had been killed in action in Italy. Twnety-five years of age, Guardsman Lord joined the Army shortly after the outbreak of war, leaving his employment as a conductor with the Ribble Motor Services. His brother, Ronald, a member of the local Territorial unit, is a prisoner of war. General sympathy will be accorded his wife and child, who live at 27, Chatburn Road, and his parents, in their sorrow.

 

 

 

 

Clitheroe Advertiser and Times – 10 March 1944

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Mrs Lord, of Chatburn Road, Clitheroe, has received a letter from a chaplain in which he says that her husband, Guardsman John E Lord, whose death on active service we reported last week, died in hospital on February 20th, after being admitted on the 17th, suffering from chest wounds. “Everything humanly possible was done for him, and he showed great patience and courage.” the chaplain says. “He made a great fight for his life, and died peacefully. He lies buried in a little English cemetery in beautiful country in the Italian hills. A simple wooden cross is placed on his grave.”

Clitheroe Advertiser and Times – 24 March 1944

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MEMORIAL SERVICE

A portion of the morning service at Clitheroe Congregational Church, on Sunday, was set apart in remembrance of Guardsman John E Lord, who died of wounds in Italy. At the close of his sermon, the Rev J A Sinclair said: “We are today honouring one and thinking lovingly and gratefully of one who has laid down his life in the hope that it was not in vain. We are not out to glorify war, for war in itself has no glory; but we wish to pay our token of respect and esteem to one of our young men, John Ernest Lord, the fourth on our Honour Roll of those who have passed on. We did not have him long here, having come to us after the closing of Mount Zion Chapel, but long enough to know him fairly intimately. We shall remember him as quiet and unassuming, but willing to give himself courageously and unselfishly that tyranny and oppression might not strut across the earth in all its proud boastfulness and hideousness.”

John Edward Lord is buried at Minturno War Cemetery in Italy. His grave is marked by a cross with inscription:-

HE DIED THAT WE MIGHT LIVE

The following information is from the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website.

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Minturno War Cemetery

On 3 September 1943 the Allies invaded the Italian mainland, the invasion coinciding with an armistice made with the Italians who then re-entered the war on the Allied side. Allied objectives were to draw German troops from the Russian front and more particularly from France, where an offensive was planned for the following year. Progress through southern Italy was rapid despite stiff resistance, but by the end of October, the Allies were facing the German winter defensive position known as the Gustav Line, which stretched from the river Garigliano in the west to the Sangro in the east. Initial attempts to breach the western end of the line were unsuccessful and it was not until 17 January 1944 that the Garigliano was crossed, and Minturno taken two days later. The site for the cemetery was chosen in January 1944, but the Allies then lost some ground and the site came under German small-arms fire. The cemetery could not be used again until May 1944 when the Allies launched their final advance on Rome and the US 85th and 88th Divisions were in this sector. The burials are mainly those of the heavy casualties incurred in crossing the Garigliano in January. Minturno War Cemetery contains 2,049 Commonwealth burials of the Second World War. The cemetery was designed by Louis de Soissons.

Military Monday – Howard Westwood (1896-1916)

Howard Westwood is my wife’s 2nd cousin 1x removed. His parents are Edwin Westwood and Mary Ann Harris. Their common ancestors are William Skelding and Catherine Taylor, my wife’s 2x great grandparents.

Howard was born in 1896 in Lye, Worcestershire – his birth is registered in the June quarter of that year.

Sometime after the outbreak of WW1 Howard signed up for service with the Royal Warwickshire Regiment and was assigned to the 11th Battalion – his service number was 27765.

The 11th Battalion landed in France in July 1915.

Howard was killed in action on 15 November 1916.

I have found the War Diaries for the Royal Warwickshire Regiment and can see what the Regiment were doing at the time Howard was killed.

Orders were received from the 99th Brigade that Munich Trench would be attacked at 9am on 15 November 1916. The attack would be carried out by the 8th East Lancs and 10th Loyal North Lancs Regiments, supported by the 11th Royal Warwickshire’s. The trench was found to be very strongly held and the attack was held up.

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I am assuming that Howard was killed during this attack.

Munich Trench was a German trench near Beaumont-Hamel in France and was eventually captured on 11 January 1917.

Howard is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial.

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Thiepval Memorial

Military Monday – Robert Scott (1908-1941)

Robert Scott is the husband of my grand aunt, Alice Musgrove. Alice’s parents are Joseph Musgrove and Elizabeth Ann Turner (my great grandparents).

Robert was born in Clitheroe in 1908 to parents Joseph Henry Scott and Isabella Cochrane – his birth is registered in the June quarter. Sometime in the first quarter of 1932 Robert married Alice Musgrove.

In 1938 Robert signed up for service with the Royal Artillery – his service number was 1454063.

When war eventually came Robert was assigned as a Gunner to the 156th (East Lancashire) Battery 52nd Light Anti Aircraft Regiment.

Robert was killed in action on 2 June 1941 in Crete.

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News of his death appeared in The Clitheroe Advertiser and Times in an article on Friday 27 June 1941.

Robert Scott - Clitheroe A&T 27 June 1941

Robert is buried at Suda Bay War Cemetery, Greece. The following information is from the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website

In May 1941, the Commonwealth force in Crete was organised in five widely separated defence areas along the north coast – around the three airfields at Iraklion, Rethymnon and Maleme, and at Suda Bay and the port of Chania. The Germans launched their attack on 20 May with airborne troops. The airfield at Maleme was quickly captured and used for landing German reinforcements. On 23 May, the remainder of the Maleme position had to be given up and its defenders fell back to Chania. On 26 May, the Allied line west of Chania was broken. Suda Bay became indefensible and the troops from these two positions, with the remainder of the Maleme garrison, withdrew across the island to Sfakion, where many of them were evacuated by sea on the nights of the 28 – 31 May. The airborne attacks on the Iraklion and Rethymnon positions on 20 May were repulsed. Iraklion was successfully defended until the night of 29/29 May when the garrison was evacuated by sea. Orders for the Rethymnon garrison to fight its way southward for evacuation did not arrive, and it was overwhelmed on 31 May. Of the total Commonwealth land force of 32,000 men, 18,000 were evacuated, 12,000 were taken prisoner and 2,000 were killed. The site of Suda Bay War Cemetery was chosen after the war and graves were moved there by 21st and 22nd Australian War Graves Units from the four burial grounds that had been established by the German occupying forces at Chania, Iraklion, Rethymnon and Galata, and from isolated sites and civilian cemeteries. There are now 1,500 Commonwealth servicemen of the Second World War buried or commemorated in the cemetery. 776 of the burials are unidentified but special memorials commemorate a number of casualties believed to be buried among them. The cemetery also contains 19 First World War burials brought in from Suda Bay Consular Cemetery, 1 being unidentified. There are also 7 burials of other nationalities and 37 non-war burials.

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Suda Bay War Cemetery, Greece

Military Monday – Robert Titterington (1905-1945)

Robert Titterrington is the husband of Mary Ann Paley, my 1st cousin 2x removed. Mary Ann’s parents are William Thomas Paley and Lilian Holden Coates. Our common ancestors are my 2x great grandparents James Paley and Mary Ann Spink.

Robert was born on 27 August 1905 in Skipton, Yorkshire to parents Robert and Ada Titterington. He was baptised on 24 September 1905 at Holy Trinity Church, Skipton.

Sometime in the December quarter of 1931 Robert and Mary Ann were married. They had one son whose birth is registered in the March quarter of 1934.

When the 1939 Register was taken at the outbreak of WW2 Robert and Mary Ann were living at 37 Ash Grove, Ilkley, West Yorkshire. Robert was working as an Insurance Agent.

Sometime after that Robert joined the Royal Navy – his service number was C/MX824444. He served on board HMS Virago as a Sick Berth Attendant (SBA).

HMS Virago was a V-class destroyer built by Swan Hunter, Tyne and Wear, United Kingdom. The Virago was launched on 4 February 1943 and was in service in the Arctic convoys, the Normandy landings and in the Far East.

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HMS Virago

HMS Viargo patrolled the Malacca Strait and supported Operation Dracula off the coast of Burma in late April 1945. Subsequently she participated in the Battle of the Malacca Strait with Saumarez, Verulam,Venus and Vigilant which culminated in the sinking of the Japanese heavy cruiser Haguro on 16 May 1945. This was a textbook destroyer night action, and was the last naval gun battle of the Second World War.

Sadly it was also in this battle that Robert Titterington died on 16 May 1945.

Virago participated in preparations for Operation Zipper (the invasion of Malaya) in July/August 1945, and its eventual execution as a reoccupation manoeuvre in September 1945 following the surrender of Japan. Based in Hong Kong with the British Pacific Fleet after VJ day, Virago returned to Chatham, Kent in December 1945.

I guess that Robert, along with others killed in action would have been buried at sea. He is commemorated on the Chatham Naval Memorial in Kent, United Kingdom.

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Chatham Naval Memorial (from CWGC website)

Military Monday – Richard James Taylor (1885-1918)

Richard James Taylor is the husband of my 3rd cousin 2x removed Mary Alice Dawson.

Richard was born on 4 March 1885 in Waddington, Lancashire to parents Henry Taylor and Mary Altham. My cousin Mary Alice was born on 6 February 1888 in Barrowford, Lancashire to parents Joseph Dawson and Alice Hartley. Or common ancestors are my 4x great grandparents John Dawson and Ann Watson.

Richard and Mary married on 30 December 1909 at St. Thomas’, Barrowford. They had two children – Dennis born in 1910 and Kenneth born on 8 November 1917 (they are my 4th cousins 1x removed)

In World War 1 Richard served in the 2nd/5th Battalion of the East Lancashire Regiment. His service number was 241099 and he reached the rank of Sergeant.

During 1918 the 2nd/5th Battalion took part in The Battle of St. Quentin, The Actions at the Somme Crossings and The Battle of Rosieres.

According to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website Richard died of wounds on 12 April 1918 at the age of 33.

Richard is buried at St. Sever Cemetery Extension, Rouen, France. His headstone number is 3394 with the following inscription:-

WE LOVED HIM, OH WE LOVED HIM

BUT THE ANGELS LOVED HIM MORE

ONE OF THE BEST                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           

Richard was awarded the Military Medal – see the extract from The London Gazette of 23 May 1918 below. The Military Medal (or MM) was a medal awarded for exceptional bravery. It was awarded to the Other Ranks (N.C.O.’s and Men) and was first instituted on 25 March 1916 during The First World War, to recognise bravery in battle.

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St. Sever Cemetery Extension (taken from CWGC website)

During the First World War, Commonwealth camps and hospitals were stationed on the southern outskirts of Rouen. A base supply depot and the 3rd Echelon of General Headquarters were also established in the city. Almost all of the hospitals at Rouen remained there for practically the whole of the war. They included eight general, five stationary, one British Red Cross and one labour hospital, and No. 2 Convalescent Depot. A number of the dead from these hospitals were buried in other cemeteries, but the great majority were taken to the city cemetery of St. Sever. In September 1916, it was found necessary to begin an extension, where the last burial took place in April 1920. During the Second World War, Rouen was again a hospital centre and the extension was used once more for the burial of Commonwealth servicemen, many of whom died as prisoners of war during the German occupation. The cemetery extension contains 8,348 Commonwealth burials of the First World War (ten of them unidentified) and in Block “S” there are 328 from the Second World War (18 of them unidentified). There are also 8 Foreign National burials here. The extension was designed by Sir Reginald Blomfield.

On 23 April 1925 Mary Alice, Dennis and Kenneth emigrated to New Zealand. They sailed from Southampton heading for Wellington aboard SS Rotorua. I hope that they had a happy life in New Zealand.

A final note about the SS Rotorua – it seems that the ship was sunk on 11 December 1940 while sailing as part of Convoy HX92. She was struck by a torpedo from U-boat number U-96 about 110 miles northwest of St. Kilda, Outer Hebrides.

Those of you who read my blog regularly may recall that U-96 was also responsible for the sinking the Arthur F Corwin on 13 February 1941 – see post here.

So I was interested to find out what finally happened U-96

The boat’s final operational patrol commenced with her departure from St. Nazaire on 26 December 1942. Crossing the Atlantic for the last time, she then came back to the eastern side and after transferring a sick crew-member to U-163 on 3 January 1943, arrived at Königsberg (now Kaliningrad) on 8 February.

She spent most of the rest of the war as a training vessel. She was decommissioned on 15 February 1945 in Wilhelmshaven. When US Eighth Air Force attacked Wilhelmshaven on 30 March 1945, U-96 was sunk in Hipper basin. The remains of the U-boat were broken up after the war

Military Monday – Jack Hurtley Thompson (1921-1941)

Jack Hurtley Thompson is my 1st cousin 1x removed. His parents are Alfred Clark Thompson and Rhoda Hurtley. Our common ancestors are James Hurtley and Ellen Paley – my great grandparents.

Jack was born in Cononley, West Yorkshire and his birth is registered in the June quarter of 1921.

Jack joined the Merchant Navy and was serving on the British motor tanker Arthur F Corwin as a 5th Engineer when it was sunk on 13 February 1941.

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Arthur F Corwin

The Arthur F Corwin was part of Convoy HX106 sailing from Halifax, Nova Scotia to Liverpool, England. Forty one merchant ships departed Halifax on 30 January 1941 – they were escorted by a series of armed military vessels at various times during the journey.

According to reports on the Internet the Arthur F Corwin was a straggler from the convoy. It was attacked and damaged by two torpedoes from U-boat U-103 at 16.25 hours on 13 February 1941. The U-boat then left the burning tanker in a sinking condition southeast of Iceland.

At 19.50 hours the same day, U-96 came across the stricken wreck of Arthur F Corwin, which was still afloat, and sank her with two further torpedoes.

There were no survivors.

I can’t even begin to imagine what it must have been like for Jack and all his crew mates.

Jack is commemorated on the Cononley War Memorial and also on the Tower Hill Memorial, near Tower Bridge in London.

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Cononley War Memorial

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Tower Hill Memorial