The Green Howards Museum’s Fiona Hall shares her thoughts about Edward Methuen Stone, her maternal grandfather:
“This picture shows my grandfather, Edward Stone, with my Mum on her wedding day in 1960.
Edward was born in St Mary le Bow in London in about 1900; in the 1901 census he is shown as living with his parents and three older sisters – Eliza, Emma and Julia, and a brother, John in Armagh Road.
There is absolutely no existing anecdotal information regarding Edward’s war service within our family. My older cousins, who knew their granddad as young children, can’t remember anything ever being said about it. My grandfather died ten years before I was born, and I can only remember my Mum saying what a kind and gentle father he was. My great uncle John was ten years older than Edward. It seems he served in the Royal Engineers and also survived the war.
No service record exists for Grandad Stone, so we do not know when he enlisted or was demobbed, or precisely where he served, his medal card shows he was a Private in the Norfolk Regiment. A researcher at their regimental museum managed to find just one intriguing reference to him. On the 10th of October 1916 he is recorded as being in 23 Base General Hospital, Amara, Mesopotamia with a ‘slight gunshot wound’. That’s it. There’s nothing else. The boy from Bow was in what’s now Iraq! Needless to say my cousins are gobsmacked. How could we not have known? Why would we have known? Now we’ll never know.
I think it is intriguing, at this time of remembrance, how we are all encouraged to think about a period in a relative’s life which, in modern times has reached a level of huge significance, but actually, in many cases, like in our family, seems to be totally unknown. Perhaps they themselves decided they would rather forget about it, or at least not deem it interesting or noteworthy enough to share and discuss so it could be passed down through their family. As someone who works in a museum, and sees families visit with a wealth of stories and paperwork about their relatives to share with us, I am often left moved, incredulous and envious!
Interestingly, mum’s brother, my Uncle Ted is the one soldier in the family we all know about. He lied about his age to serve in the Second World War. Three letters written to his parents at the time of the Normandy landings are precious to me. What must Grandad Stone have been going through, remembering his own experiences of less than 20 years before, while his eldest son was fighting his way through northern France in 1944?”
Explore more memories from the ribbon
Margaret Carrigan visited the museum on a recent drop-in day, to tell the story of her father, 38026 Private George W Kidson of C Company, 9th Battalion Yorkshire Regiment. He enlisted in Richmond in May 1916 – but was told to return home until his call up papers arrived, which they duly did on 5th September 1916. George spent two weeks at the Depot in Richmond and then went to Hartlepool for training. One memorable incident during the night of 29th November occurred when George was on guard duty – a German Zeppelin was brought down. The war really began for George when he arrived at Canada Trench near Ypres – he recalled, “In the trenches each night we were told what to do, I was told to stand on the Fire Step. While I was there at night about 7 Germans walked past me, so near they could have picked me up, if they had seen me. I said to the Serg, “should I fire?”, he said no – not to give the position away.” Later in the year he saw action at Polygon Wood. “On Sunday 30th September we were rushed back, where a German prisoner gave himself up. He told us that the Germans were coming the next day – October 1st. I shall always remember Polygon Wood. Come they did on the Monday. Our Platoon were firing for all they were worth. My rifle was muddy, and the bolt would not work, so I took out…
Meryl Abbey sent us some information about her great uncle, Richard William Adams. Richard served with the Yorkshire Regiment, arriving in France on 25th March 1915. Little is known about his service, but he served as 10438 Lance Corporal R Adams. He is buried at Bethune Town Cemetery having died on 30 August 1915. He was awarded the 1915 Star, the British War medal and the Victory medal.
William was born in 1897 in the village of Thoralby, near Aysgarth, in the North Yorkshire Dales. Birth registrations show he was born in the first quarter of that year. He was the youngest son of farmer John and his wife Alice, living at Town Head Farm. The 1901 census shows he had two older brothers, Ralph 10 and John Hunter 7, and a sister Elizabeth 9. However, the 1911 census only shows William, and by that time his mother was a widow at 42. Also at the time, three boarders lodged at the farm. William attended the local school and in his teens became a valued member of Aysgarth Amateur Dramatic Society. At the outbreak of war, aged 17, he enlisted in the 10th Battalion Yorkshire Regiment. He went to France in October 1915. By the onset of the 3rd Battle of Ypres in 1917 William was now a Corporal. It was during this offensive on the 3rd October that the 10th Battalion was involved in an action on Broodseinde ridge. It was during the heavy shelling on the 4th that William was killed. His body was never found. William is commemorated on a panel at the Tyne Cot Cemetery. He was just 19 years of age when he died.