Vicki Walker of Little Crakehall called into the museum to show us a photograph of Duncan Harvie, her grandfather.
The photo is a postcard addressed to ‘Mary and Sam’, sent on 3 April 1916 and shows a group of Signallers on board HMS Laconia. Duncan Harvie (5th South African Regiment) is sat at the front of the group with crossed legs.
The ship’s log shows the Laconia (an armed merchant cruiser) to be anchored at Zanzibar on that date, on it’s way to British East Africa (now Kenya). The ship was used in the early part of the war to patrol the South Atlantic and the Indian Ocean, but in April 1915 her role changed and she was used as a headquarters ship to aid in the fight in German East Africa. Following her return to to Cunard, the Laconia was sunk by U-50 160 miles northwest of Fastnet while returning form the United States on 25th February 1917. Twelve people were killed following a double torpedo strike.
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Kenneth Henderson was born on the 29th May 1895 at Sutton in Surrey, the third and youngest child of Robert and Janie Henderson. His father was a bank manager. The family were quite reasonably well off as the 1911 census shows the family having 3 servants. By this time Kenneth was at Charterhouse School. His early life is undocumented. On the outbreak of WW1 Kenneth enlisted in the 28th Battalion, The London Regiment (Artists’ Rifles). This was a popular unit for volunteers and a number would be selected to be officers in other Regiments, as Kenneth would be. On the 26th October he landed in France with the Artists’ Rifles and on the 15th March 1915 was made temporary 2nd Lieutenant with the 2nd Battalion, Yorkshire Regiment. During 1915 he saw action with the 2nd Battalion at Fromelles, Festuber and Givenchy. On the 7th July 1916 during the Somme offensive he received his fourth wound of the war. After the war he was with the newly reconstituted 6th Battalion, Yorkshire Regiment, for service in the Russian Archangel campaign. It was here that he received the Military Cross. The London Gazette of the 21st January 1919 read: ‘He has carried out the duties of a Company Commander of a mixed force at Bolshe-Ozerki and has worked in a very efficient way. He has had continuous service on this front since November 1918 and in four engagements in which his company has taken part he has proved to be a fearless and…
When Edward Pickard died in 1928 at the age of 56 he had given 36 years of his life to the Green Howards. Most of the town of Richmond turned out to his funeral on Friday July 21st with the mourners being headed by General Sir Edwin Bulfin, Colonel of the Regiment from 1914 to 1939. Edward Pickard enlisted as a Green Howard in 1891, and rapidly rose through the ranks. He was one of very few officers to fight with his unit throughout the First World War, during which he served as Quarter Master to the 2nd Battalion. Pickard was the first Green Howard to fire at the enemy in the First World War – shooting two Uhlans (German mounted lancers) while trying to allocate billets to his men in Ypres! His ‘batman’ or servant, Charles Porteous Hellings who was with Pickard for a total of 14 years survived the war and is pictured here with Pickard in the grounds of the Depot in Richmond.
Robert Henry Murray lived with his family lived at West Cottage, Richmond. He was educated at Richmond Grammar School, and attended Selwyn College, Cambridge – rowing in the college boat at the Henley Regatta immediately before the outbreak of war. He was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the Yorkshire Regiment on 8th October 1914, but was quickly promoted to Captain on the 3rd of December 1914. Attached to the Royal Munster Fusiliers, he was Mentioned in Despatches while at Gallipoli. Captain Murray was killed while attending to a wounded man of his Company on the fire-step of his trench. Captain Murray fell in action on 7th July 1916 and is buried at Philosophe British Cemetery, Mazingarbe, Departement du Pas-de-Calais.