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?”
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William was the son of William and Mary Rutley of 8 Mabal Street, Middlesbrough. He enlisted in late 1914 and was posted to the 8th Battalion of the Yorkshire Regiment. The 8th Battalion left for France in late August 1915 and occupied trenches in the La Rolanderie and Bois-Greniers districts throughout October, November and December. William is reported to have died of wounds on December 16th. He was 22 years of age. He was awarded the 1915 Star, the British War Medal and the Victory Medal. He was buried at Sailly-sur-la Lys Canadian Cemetery, Pas-de-Calais.
Submitted by Angie Atkinson. Wilfred Carver, Royal Marines Light Infantry (16955), was born in 1895. He died on the 26th of November 1914 while on the HMS Bulwark. He is remembered on the Portsmouth Naval Memorial.
2nd Lieutenant Arthur F Clarke was attending the 5th Battalion annual camp in Wales when war broke out. He spent the first months of the war moving between Scarborough, Hull, Newcastle, Hartlepool and Darlington. On the 18th April 1915 he went out to France and was wounded during a gas attack on the 26th May 1915. The Green Howards Gazette records: “The day seemed interminable as the poor shelter had to be hugged tight all the time. With darkness came the order that we were to pass through GHQ lines and take up a front line position in Zouave Wood facing Hooge, where the main attack by the enemy had been made. That little strip of ground has since been the cockpit of our Western front. On our journey up another man was killed, and Lieutenant A F Clarke was wounded. That tour was destined to be the worst we had so far entered upon.” We know he returned to the front line as the Green Howard Gazette for January 1916 records that he was wounded. He rose to the rank of Captain in November 1916.