Stanley Oddie – little known soldier

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Stanley Oddie, Private 15/689, 1st Leeds Pals

Despite being one of the early volunteers for the Pals, and the first of the ‘O’ surnames on the roll, Stanley Oddie does not appear on the list of applicants.  This may simply be an error, but it does not help when there are no service or medical records, only medal records.  Fortunately Oddie is not a particularly common surname, and so hopefully what follows is an outline of his life.

He was born in Halifax in 1886, the fourth and last child of John Oddie and Eliza Illingworth, who had married in 1877.  They had had six children, but two had died.  Stanley’s siblings were Ethel Marion, Mabel and Harold, and for all of his early life the family lived in Halifax, where John was a merchant dealing in foreign imports, specifically, according to the 1881 Census, from Brazil.  He died in 1899, and some time after that his widow and two of the children moved to Leeds, appearing on the 1911 Census at 32 Mount Preston.  Stanley, by this time 24, was listed as a bank clerk.  Three years later he was 27, and volunteering for the Pals at the outbreak of war.

His military service can only be guessed at, presumably beginning with training at Colsterdale, Ripon and Fovant.  He certainly went with the battalion to Egypt, and was later awarded the 1914-15 Star for his service there.  He then went to France, and at some point, probably later in the war, he was wounded, sufficiently seriously to be discharged and awarded the Silver War Badge.  But his discharge didn’t happen until December 1918, after the war had ended.  It is likely that he applied for a pension, but I have found no record so far.  In addition to the Star above mentioned he was also awarded the British War Medal and the Victory Medal.

There is little trace of Stanley after the war.  There is a record of a marriage between a Stanley Oddie and a Marion J Jackson in 1943, and she appears on the 1939 Register, with her surname altered to Oddie.  Her occupation is given as bank stenographer, suggesting that Stanley went back to his job with the bank, though I have not managed to find him on the Register.  He probably died in Leeds in 1947, at the age of 60.

Sources:

Ancestry – medal records

Find My Past – census records, 1939 Register

FreeBMD – birth, marriage and death records

Researcher: Peter Taylor

Please Note:

  • All opinions and inferences are the researcher’s own.
  • Please refer to our Glossary of Terms for further information on the terms and phrases used in this post.
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Harry Eyre – from Pal to machine-gunner

Harry Eyre, Private 46511 MGC, formerly Private, 1st Leeds Pals

Photo courtesy of Yvonne Roberts

Henry Eyre, more usually known as Harry, was born in Leeds on 19th September 1888, the only son and elder child of Robert Eyre, a joiner from Lincolnshire, and Annie Rennison from Leeds, whom he had married in 1887.  Six years later they had a daughter, Hilda.  At this time they were living at 27 Bristol Road, Leeds.  In 1911 Harry was working as an assistant ironmonger for the firm JH.Bean and Son, having started with them in 1904.  He returned to them after the war, despite his injuries, and worked as an office clerk, clocking up over fifty years’ service.  He had a great interest in sport, being a member of the Leeds Athletic Club, as well as playing football, and swimming.  He was also a member of the Church Lads’ Brigade, and later had some association with the Medical Corps as a driver.

In 1914, when war was declared, Harry was 25, and he immediately volunteered for the Leeds Pals, signing up on 6th September, and having a medical on 10th September, just short of his 26th birthday.  His name appears on the list of applicants, and his address at this point was 27 Claypit Street, Leeds, just the next street to Bristol Road.  He then went off to Colsterdale for training with the battalion, and from where he sent a number of postcards home to his father, some from 1914, others from 1915.  They mention, briefly, some details of his training.  Unfortunately he then disappears from the record, though there is a photo showing him with a Pals badge in his cap, and corporal’s stripes up, though this may have been a uniform from his CLB days.  He is not listed on the Pals’ full roll, and his service record relates only to his time in the Machine Gun Corps, a unit which was not established until October 1915.  Here he was given the service number 46511, which is not a number that would have been issued by the Pals, and there is no indication of a previous number, and nothing to explain what he was doing during this period.  At the end of the war he was not awarded the 1914-1915 Star, indicating that he had not served abroad before the end of 1915, and so cannot have gone to Egypt with the Pals in December 1915.  Also, his medal Index card shows him as a private in the MGC, with no indication of any other rank, suggesting that he transferred to the MGC as soon as it was formed.

In 1917 he was quite severely wounded, in the face, with substantial damage to his cheek and jaw, requiring extensive reconstructive surgery, and resulting in his discharge from the army on 11th January 1919.  He was awarded a wound stripe and the Silver War Badge, as well as subsequently the British War Medal and the Victory Medal, but he continued to need hospital treatment, certainly into the 1930s.

In 1920 he had married Edith May Porritt, at Woodside Parish Church, with both fathers and his sister Hilda as witnesses.  His occupation was given as clerk.  On the 1939 Register he and Edith were living at 28 Mayville Road, Leeds, and he was now listed as a hardware merchant’s assistant.  There are also two closed records on the register, probably two of their three children Eileen, Kenneth or Dennis.  Harry and Edith appear again on a ship’s register, returning from New York on 15th August 1958, after a holiday visiting Eileen, who had married a GI, and their five grandchildren.  On that return journey Harry suffered a major stroke, and was bedridden for the remainder of his life.  He died in St James’s Hospital, Leeds, on 29th April 1963, age 74, leaving a widow, three children and nine grandchildren.

Staff dance 1954. Harry left, Edith 2nd right

Sources:

Ancestry – medal records

Find My Past – census records

Free BMD – birth, marriage and death records

Researcher: Peter Taylor, with extensive additional information from Harry’s grand-daughter, Yvonne Roberts.

Please Note:

  • All opinions and inferences are the researcher’s own.
  • Please refer to our Glossary of Terms for further information on the terms and phrases used in this post.

George Wilfred Nalley – a bit of a mystery

George Wilfred Nalley, Private 15/670, 1st Leeds Pals

George Wilfred Nalley, the first of the ‘N’s to volunteer, was born on 10th December 1889, in Bradford.  He has proved very difficult to track down.  The only army records to survive are his medal roll and card, and initially I couldn’t find him, or in fact any of the family, on the census.  When I finally found something the reasons for the problems became clear.

Thomas Nalley, a railway signalman, married Edith Ashley in Upper Langwith, Derbyshire, in 1883.  They had three children, Edgar, Roland and George Wilfred.  At the time of the 1891 Census they were living in Armley, and were listed under the surname Ashley, so George appeared as George W Ashley.  Thomas died in July of 1898, at the age of 41, and by 1901 the family had reverted to the Nalley surname.  George, however, was listed as Wilfred, as he was again in 1911, by which time he had left school and was working as a railway porter.  In Leeds in February 1913 George married Maud Simpson, giving his occupation as furniture dealer, and later that year their son Thomas Leslie was born.  Two years later they had a daughter, Winifred, but she sadly did not survive.

In 1914, when the war began, George was 24, a married man with a son, but that did not stop him from volunteering.  He applied on 4th September, almost as soon as recruiting began, and presumably went to Colsterdale for the initial training.  What happened after that is not clear.  He is listed on the applicants as GW Nalley, but does not appear on the full Roll, made around the middle of 1915.  He was certainly in France for the Battle of the Somme, but he was not awarded the 1914-15 Star, implying that he did not serve overseas before the end of 1915 and therefore did not go with the battalion to Egypt.  He probably went over the top on 1st July 1916, and he suffered a gunshot wound in his left leg.  He is listed on a hospital admissions register on 4th July prior to being put on the hospital ship SS Asturias bound for England, and he was subsequently awarded the Silver War Badge, to indicate that he had been wounded.  There are no further details, but it was clearly a sufficiently serious wound for him to be discharged from the army on 7th May 1917.  He may well have been awarded a pension.  He was certainly awarded the British War Medal and the Victory Medal.

Unlike many of the Pals George was able to return home to his wife and son, and on the Electoral Registers they are listed as living, firstly in Allerton Street, and then, in 1925, Ventnor Street, Leeds.  But George only lived another eleven years, dying in October 1936, whether from the effects of his wound I don’t know.  Hopefully someone reading this will be able to provide more information, as there are several anomalies in this story, and also, I suspect, some interesting facts that have not yet come out.

Sources:

Ancestry – medal records, family tree, census records, birth, marriage and death records

Find My Past – census records, hospital records

Free BMD – marriage and death records

Researcher: Peter Taylor

Please Note:

  • All opinions and inferences are the researcher’s own.
  • Please refer to our Glossary of Terms for further information on the terms and phrases used in this post.

William Macaulay – a regular re-enlisted

William Hope Macaulay, Sergeant 15/608, 1st Leeds Pals

The first of the ‘M’s to volunteer was William Hope Macaulay, a discharged regular, so older in both years and experience than the majority of the men.  He was born on 11th July 1884, in Prestonpans, East Lothian, so not a Yorkshireman either.  He was the son of Alexander Macaulay, himself a retired soldier, and Eliza Field, his wife.  I have only managed to find the family on one census so far, that of 1891, when they were living in Prestonpans, with four children, the eldest a girl, and three boys, of which William was the middle one.  Ellen, the daughter, was eleven, so born around 1880, and the marriage was presumably sometime before that.  William, being six at that point, was in school.

Eight years later, in 1899, William enlisted in the Royal Scots Regiment, with the number 6955.  As he was still only fifteen he must have signed on as a boy soldier, but this did not hold him back, and after training he spent eight years in India, after which he was discharged.  He then entered the Civil Service as a postman, graduating to sorting clerk and then telegraphist, the trade he put on the marriage register when he married Elsie Isabel Johnson in 1916.  But before then, in 1914, he volunteered for the Leeds Pals, on 21st September.  What brought him from Scotland to Leeds we don’t know.

Being an experienced soldier he would have been most welcome and doubtless was one of the first to be promoted.  There was a serious shortage of experience in the volunteer army, particularly of men who could train the new men, but the Pals were fortunate in having a number of ex-regulars who came back when war was declared.  William probably made sergeant quickly, and was posted to D Company as provost sergeant, a battalion policeman.

After training the battalion went to Egypt, landing in December 1915 and staying, to guard the Suez Canal, until the following March, when they sailed again, this time for France and the Big Push.  It is not known whether William was directly involved in this battle.  If he was he clearly survived it, but it is possible that, as provost sergeant, he could have been held back to control the attack, and make sure no-one tried to return to the trenches.  Or he may have been part of the cadre that was kept back.  Whatever the explanation, by September he was back home in Leeds, where, in St Matthias’ church, Burley, he married Elsie Isabel Johnson on 29th of the month.

But his luck did not hold.  After being almost destroyed on the Somme the Pals had to be built up again, to be ready for the next major battle, Arras, which began on 3rd May 1917, when the Pals were given the task of capturing Gavrelle.  But William was already dead.  He had been killed by a sniper’s bullet on 29th April, while the battalion was preparing for the attack.  He was buried where he fell, but in subsequent fighting the ground changed hands several times, most notably in the Germans’ spring offensive of 1918, and his grave was lost.  He is remembered on the Arras Memorial.  He was 32 and had been married for exactly seven months.

His father Alexander was also dead by this time, having been born in 1831, and his mother had moved away, to Carshalton in Surrey.  His wife’s address was given as 56 Queen’s Road, Hyde Park, Leeds, and it was presumably here that his medals, the 1914-15 Star, the British War Medal and the Victory Medal, were sent.

Sources:

Ancestry – De Ruvigny’s Roll of Honour, census record

Find My Past – marriage record

CWGC – record of death

Researcher: Peter Taylor

Please Note:

  • All opinions and inferences are the researcher’s own.
  • Please refer to our Glossary of Terms for further information on the terms and phrases used in this post.

Thomas Lake – another victim of The Somme

Thomas William Lake, Private 15/565, 1st Leeds Pals

The first of the ‘L’s to volunteer was Thomas William Lake, another man about whom little is known.  If I have found the right Thomas then the following is his story.

He was born towards the end of 1885 in Rothwell, the second child and only son of Samuel Lake and Mary Johnson, who had married in 1881.  Samuel was a coal miner and milk dealer, later becoming a general carrier.  As well as Thomas they had three daughters, Sarah Elizabeth, Annie and Alice.  On leaving school Thomas became a waggonette proprietor, but subsequently a working carter.  Samuel died in 1901, shortly after the census had been taken, at the age of 48.

In 1914, when the war started, he was nearly 29, and was one of the first to volunteer, on 3rd September according to the list of applicants, but as they were being listed alphabetically he appeared some way down the list.  He had his medical on 12th September, and after his basic training at Colsterdale was put into the Headquarters Company, where he became a pioneer, a soldier responsible for engineering and construction work, the equivalent of a sapper.  After finishing his training at Fovant he sailed to Egypt and spent two months guarding the Suez Canal against a Turkish attack which never materialised.  Then at the beginning of March 1916 the battalion set off for France, to start training for the Big Push.

On 1st July 1916 the Battle of the Somme opened, and it was a day of disaster for the British Army, and especially for the Pals.  Thomas was just one of the many Leeds Pals killed, over 200 of them by the end of that day, with many more wounded or missing.  As with so many men his body was never found, and he is remembered on the Thiepval Memorial.  The battalion was almost destroyed as a fighting unit, and would take many months, as well as many replacements, to bring it back up to strength.  But for Mary Lake, who had lost her only son, there was nothing that could compensate.  Nor was she alone, for in September of 1915 Thomas had married Rosey Sheard and now, after less than nine months, she too was a widow.

After the end of the war Thomas was awarded, posthumously, the 1914-15 Star, the British War Medal and the Victory Medal, which would have been sent to his widow, now Rosey Pannier, she having married Emile M Pannier in September 1917.  There is probably an interesting story there too, and if anyone can supply more information, even if just to say that I am wrong, I should be most pleased to hear from them.

Sources:

Ancestry – medal records

Find My Past – census records

Free BMD – birth, marriage and death records

CWGC – Thomas’s death

Researcher: Peter Taylor

Please Note:

  • All opinions and inferences are the researcher’s own.
  • Please refer to our Glossary of Terms for further information on the terms and phrases used in this post.

Walter Reynard – another young soldier

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Walter Reynard, Private 15/1724, 1st Leeds Pals

Later EYR, Leicestershire Regt. and Sherwood Foresters

Served as a Leeds Pal for only 106 days (discharged under age); later a Prisoner of War serving with the Notts and Derby Regiment 

Walter was one of a number of ‘boys’ who joined the Leeds Pals in late 1914 and early 1915. He was born in Bramley, Leeds on 24th January 1899 and was 16½ when he enlisted in June 1915.  Employed as a Roller in Cloth, and listed as a Wesleyan by religion, he lived with his family firstly in 1901 at 7 Patchett Place (his father was resident at the Leeds General Infirmary during the 1901 Census), then by 1911 at 232 Town Street and finally at 22 Whitecote Lane, Bramley, Leeds.

His father, Alfred Robinson, who died in 1918 and was buried at St Peter’s Church on 8th April, was born in Horsforth in 1874 and worked at Kirkstall Forge and his mother, Margaret Longbottom, was born in Bramley in 1875.  He had two sisters, Ida born in 1901 and Emily in 1904.  Walter married Victoria Marston on 4th October 1919 at St Peter’s Church, Bramley; he was still living at 22 Whitecote Lane, Bramley and was now employed as a Dyers Labourer. Their daughter, Joycelyne, was born in 1920.

He enlisted on 22nd June 1915 as 15/1724 Private Reynard in the 15th Battalion, West Yorkshire Regiment (1st Leeds Pals).  His declared age was 19 years and 5 months although his actual age was 16 years 5 months.  He was 5ft 3½ins (which increased by 2ins by 1917), weighed 112lbs and had ‘fair’ physical development.  Walter was posted to 19th Battalion on 23rd June 1915 and was discharged from the Army on 5th October 1915 as ‘under the age of 17’. His character was described as ‘Good’.

Walter re-enlisted as TR5/14685 Private Reynard in the East Yorkshire Regiment on 20th January 1917. He was mobilised on 2nd March 1917 and transferred to the 2nd Training Reserve Battalion on 16th June 1917, before moving to the 261st (sic) Infantry Battalion and given a new number of 5/6914.  While serving with them he was hospitalised with Scabies in October 1917.  Walter then went to the 1st Graduation Battalion, Leicestershire Regiment on 1st December 1917 with yet another number TR5/39445 before deploying to France on 7th March 1918 and joining the 2nd Battalion, Notts & Derby Regiment (Sherwood Foresters) on 11th March 1918 as 102142 Private Reynard.

However, he spent only a few days in action before he was reported missing on 21st March 1918 and was later confirmed as a Prisoner of War.  He was released on 8th December 1918 and returned to England where he transferred to the Army Reserve Z at Lichfield, Staffordshire on 6th April 1919.  For his service he received the British War Medal and Victory Medal. Generally he was a good soldier but received seven days CB (Confined to Barracks) in 1917 and forfeited two days’ pay for outstaying his leave, which many soldiers did.

In 1939 Walter and his wife Victoria, who had been born on 20th June 1897 in Otley and was a Worsted Weaver, were living at 27 Wellington Grove, Bramley.  Walter died in 1958 in Leeds and Victoria died in 1983 in Staincliffe, Lancashire.

 Sources:

Ancestry – Birth, marriage and death registers

The National Archives – Service Record and Medal Rolls

Researcher: David J Owen

Please Note:

  • All opinions and inferences are the researcher’s own.
  • Please refer to our Glossary of Terms for further information on the terms and phrases used in this post.

Charles Henry Kay – little known

Charles Henry Kay, Private 15/538, 1st Leeds Pals

Charles Henry Kay, the first of the ‘K’s to volunteer, did so on 5th September 1914, giving as his address 102 Temple Row, or Road, Leeds.  This was fortunate as very little of his service record has survived.  But on 4th September 1926 he married Nellie Glyde, and on the register his address is still Temple Road, and his father, though deceased, is named as Lancelot Kay, not a particularly common name.  This leads us to Charles’s family, as follows.

In 1885 Lancelot Kay, a woollen warehouseman, married Jane Anna Metcalfe of Bradford, in Holbeck.  They had six children, though one died.  Charles, who was born on 7th May 1897, was the fourth child, and probably the only son.  His sisters were Alice, Florence, Frances and Annie.  In 1911 he was 13 going on 14 and still at school, but when the war began in 1914 he was 17 and became yet another, slightly, under-age soldier.  After his medical he was put into D Company, No.14 Platoon, and we must assume that his service followed the usual pattern for the Pals.  He would have gone to Colsterdale for initial training, then Ripon and finally Fovant, before sailing with the battalion to Egypt in December 1915, there to guard the Suez Canal.

After little more than two months there they sailed again, this time for France, to get ready for the Big Push.  Whether Charles went over the top on 1st July we don’t know, but if he did he survived, and there are no hospital records to say whether he was wounded, at any point during his service.  After the war ended he was discharged, on 31st January 1919, to the Reserve, Class Z.  He was subsequently awarded the 1914-15 Star, the British War Medal and the Victory Medal.

Charles returned home to live with his parents, who must have been very relieved to have their only son back safely.  Six years later his father died and the following year, as already mentioned, Charles married Nellie.  They continued to live in the family home, perhaps in part to look after his widowed mother, and in 1939 they were still there, although mother had now died.  Charles was listed as a textile operator, and there were two children, David G Kay, born in 1928 and still at school, and Margaret E Kay, born in 1935.  Charles may have died in 1951, at the age of 53.

Sources:

Ancestry – Medal records, marriage records

Find My Past – census records

Free BMD – birth, marriage and death records

Researcher: Peter Taylor

Please Note:

  • All opinions and inferences are the researcher’s own.
  • Please refer to our Glossary of Terms for further information on the terms and phrases used in this post.

John Ibbitson – briefly a Pal

John Ibbitson, Private 15/495, Leeds Pals, then 10th Battalion.

John Ibbitson is another soldier for whom there is very little evidence.  His name, the first of the ‘I’s, appears on the list of applicants for the Pals when he volunteered on 5th September 1914.  His address was noted as Heathfield, Yeadon, and this is one of the few firm pieces of evidence.  He was probably born in 1877, making him 37 when the war began.  He was given a medical a week later, on the 11th, and given the number 15/495, and this is the last definite connection to the Pals.  He may have gone to Colsterdale to start his training, but after that he disappears from view.  He is not on the nominal roll drawn up in mid 1915.  On his medal card he is listed as 10th Battalion, another part of Kitchener’s New Army, raised at the same time as Leeds Pals, but which went to France in July of 1915.  John was not awarded the 1914-15 Star, however, indicating that he did not serve in France before the end of 1915. He was with the 10th Battalion in France in 1916, though his medal card has no date of arrival given on it, and he was killed in action on 14th July, during the Battle of the Somme.  His body was never found and his name is on the Thiepval Memorial.

Turning to the civil records, even here there is some confusion.  I believe I have found the family on the 1881 Census, though their surname has been transcribed as Hudson, apart from Hannah’s, which reads Ibbotson.  The writing is very indistinct, and could be read either way.  But all the other details tally, apart, perhaps, from John’s age (see later).  The parents were Edwin and Mary Ibbitson, and John was their eldest child, followed by Hannah Elizabeth, and ten years later by Thomas Edwin.  There were two other children, who did not survive.  They were living at Moor Grange in Yeadon.  By 1901 they had moved to Heatherfield and John, now 24, had followed his father into the woollen industry.

On the 1911 Census John appears to have left home, while Hannah is now the wife of Fred Garfield Hurtler, a millwright, and they have a daughter, Florence Isobel, age 2.  There is a marriage recorded for a John Ibbitson, to Annie Penny in Wharfedale in 1901, and a 1911 Census record for John Ibbitson, his wife Annie, and his mother-in-law Mary Penny, living at 19 Turkey Hill, Littlemoor, Pudsey.  John is a worsted warp dresser, born in Yeadon, but age 37.  Either the earlier censuses were inaccurate or John had changed his age, perhaps to be older than his wife.  Otherwise the details match, but whether that makes him the correct John I cannot be sure.  However, the Army Register of Effects gives Next of Kin as his father Edwin, so perhaps he was not married after all.  It also places him in 12th Battalion, which adds further confusion.

On the details of his death there is no next of kin or home address given, which is unusual, and on his medal card no address either, which is not unusual.  Just the award of the British War Medal and the Victory Medal.  Hopefully we shall be contacted by someone who can fill in the missing details.

Sources:

Ancestry – medal records

Find My Past – census records

Free BMD – marriage details

CWGC – death details

Researcher: Peter Taylor

Please Note:

  • All opinions and inferences are the researcher’s own.
  • Please refer to our Glossary of Terms for further information on the terms and phrases used in this post.

Norman Haddon – another move to the East Yorks

Norman James Haddon, Corporal 15/408, 1st Leeds Pals

Then East Yorkshire Regiment, Corporal 34928

Norman James Haddon was the first of the ‘H’s to sign up, one of the first 500.  His experiences with the Pals very much mirror those of Donald Gamble (qv), even down to the Leicestershire connection, his father having been born in Bitteswell, or Lutterworth, depending on which census you read.  The main difference is that Norman’s records are a little more extensive.

Norman was born on 20th September 1895, in Leeds, the older of two boys born to Harry George Haddon and his wife Mina James, who he’d married in 1894.  Norman’s younger brother was Henry Roger, though the 1901 Census says Henry J, but that wasn’t filled out by his father.  Harry was railway engine driver, having worked his way up from fireman, on the 1891 census.  Norman was still at school in 1911, at the age of 15, which was quite uncommon for working class families, suggesting that the family was reasonably well off.  When the war came he was nearly 19, and a clerk working in Leeds for the City Treasurer.  According to the List of Applicants he applied on 5th September, the third day of recruiting, and had his medical on 11th, when he gave his address as 136 Queen Street, Stourton.  His height was measured as 5ft 9.25ins, and his weight as 9st.  He was accepted for the Pals, and put into B Company, No.5 Platoon, where he eventually became platoon bomber.  Another record gives his enlistment date as 16th September, and the start of his training at Colsterdale as 25th September.

The Pals began their training at Colsterdale, before moving, in the summer of 1915, first to Ripon and then Fovant in Wiltshire.  In early December they sailed for Egypt, to guard the Suez Canal from the Turks, and Norman’s Medal Card shows that he arrived there on 22nd December.  The Pals stayed in Egypt until the beginning of March 1916, with very little excitement save for the accidental death of Private Wintle.  Then they sailed again, this time for France, to begin the training for the Big Push, as the Battle of the Somme was called.

It is likely that Norman was involved in the first day of the Somme, as he was recorded in North Evington Military Hospital, Leicester, with a gunshot wound to his left thigh, from 7th July to 8th August.  During this period he was transferred to the Territorial Reserve and given a new army number, 5/72701, but this was a short-lived move.  By November he had recovered from his wound and was on the move again, this time to Macedonia, as Corporal 34928 of the East Yorkshire Regiment.  It is not entirely clear whether he was promoted while still in the Pals, or after his move.  Records differ.

Norman was in Macedonia for two years, until November 1918, and halfway through his time there he contracted malaria, for which he was treated at the General Hospital in Salonika.  This disease was also the basis for his pension application, examined in February 1919 in Kumkale, in the Dardenelles, as he had been moved to Turkey the previous November.  His pension was not granted, but it was to be reviewed after twelve months.  I have found no record of what happened eventually.

Norman was discharged to Class Z on 22nd April 1919, and awarded the 1914-15 Star, the British War Medal and the Victory Medal.  In 1922, in Leeds, he married Florence M Cawood, and they both appear on the 1939 Register, living at The Bungalow, Bacup, Lancashire, together with Norman R Haddon, born in May 1924, and Geoffrey B Haddon, born almost exactly three years later.  At the ages of 15 and 12 they were both still at school.

Florence seems to have died in June 1941, at the young age of 43, and two years later Norman married again, Mary F Baron.  He died in 1956 in Blackburn, at the age of 61.

Sources:

Ancestry – medal records

Find My Past – medical records, census records

Free BMD – birth, marriage and death records

Researcher: Peter Taylor

Please Note:

  • All opinions and inferences are the researcher’s own.
  • Please refer to our Glossary of Terms for further information on the terms and phrases used in this post.

Donald Gamble – his gamble paid off

Donald Richard Gamble, Private 15/355, 1st Leeds Pals

The first ‘G’ surname to volunteer was Donald R Gamble, but while his name is on the roll and his medal records have survived, the only other evidence for him is an entry on a hospital register, when he was wounded.  His army records otherwise have not survived.  Even his second name is not recorded.  However, his is not a common name, and I could find only one Donald R Gamble on the census records, or in the births, marriages and deaths.  So although I cannot be certain, what follows seems likely to be the right man.  If I am wrong, wholly or just in part, I hope someone will contact us with further information.

Donald Richard Gamble was born on 31st May 1889, in Leicester, the second son of John George Gamble of Ullesthorpe, who had married Hannah Elizabeth Calder in Watford in December 1882, she being a Londoner.  Donald was baptised on 25th July of that year, and John’s occupation was given as solicitor, though on subsequent censuses he was shown as a clerk.  The Gambles had three children, another having died.  The eldest was George Henry Calder Gamble, and then a daughter, Kathleen Grace, the same age as Donald.  I assume they were twins.

Despite Hannah having been born in Marylebone, London, the family was essentially from Leicester, and at the 1911 Census they were still living there, at 8 Saxe Coburg Street.  John was given as warehouse clerk, and the two boys as warehousemen, George in hosiery and Donald in engineering.  But in 1914, when war broke out and Donald volunteered, he at least was living in Leeds, at 11 North West Road, Woodhouse, the address he gave when he applied to join the Pals on 4th September.  He had his medical seven days later, and was posted to C Company, No.12 Platoon, where he became platoon bomber.  What brought him to Leeds is not known, but it appears his family was still in Leicester.

With the rest of the Pals Donald would have gone to Colsterdale for his initial training, followed by Ripon and Fovant, before sailing for Egypt in December of 1915, where he landed on 22nd December.  The Pals stayed there, guarding the Suez Canal, until the beginning of March 1916, when they sailed for France to start training for the Big Push, the Battle of the Somme.  This started on 1st July 1916, and by 10th July Donald was in hospital with gun shot wounds to his left thigh and right foot, but at least he had survived the battle.  These were sufficiently serious for him to be put on the hospital ship HS Salta, but whether this took him back to England or somewhere else is not known.  When he had sufficiently recovered he did not return to the Pals.  Casualties had been so catastrophic that the idea of Pals battalions was abandoned, and returning soldiers sent to wherever reinforcements were needed most.  Donald found himself in the East Yorkshire Regiment, with a new army number, 29952, and here he spent the rest of the war.

Meanwhile, on 9th February 1918, Donald had married Ethel May Garner in Leicester.  She was given as spinster, but he as soldier, and his address was still 8 Saxe Coburg Street.  He was discharged from the army, presumably after the end of the war, and put into Reserve Z, but unusually no date for this is recorded.  He was awarded the 1914-15 Star, the British War Medal and the Victory Medal.  After these events the story becomes a little confused.  On the 1920 Electoral Register Donald is shown living with his parents in Saxe Coburg Street.  By 1925 he had moved to Leeds, (again?), and was living at 55 East Park Street, Leeds, but on his own.  The following year he had been joined by Ethel, and two years later they were still together at 7 Winfield Grove.  Finally they appeared on the 1939 Register, living at 6 Lomond Place, Leeds.  Donald was now a boot factory stock clerk, and Ethel, as was usual for the time, was shown as doing unpaid domestic work.

Donald probably died in Leeds in 1963, aged 74, and Ethel five years later, aged 79.

If you can add anything to this, or correct any errors, pleas contact us.

Sources:

Ancestry – medal records

Find My Past – medical records, census details, baptism and marriage records

Free BMD – marriage and death dates

Researcher: Peter Taylor

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