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.
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
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.
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.
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.