Helen Bennett visited the museum to tell us about Gardner Kennedy.
(William Robert) Gardner Kennedy was my paternal Irish Grandmother’s first cousin. He was the son of Mary and William Kennedy of Ardbana House Coleraine, Northern Ireland. His father had an engineering firm. He was my Irish Grandmother’s cousin. (Annie Morton McMillan of Turnagrove Co Antrim) There is a very strong familial likeness between Gardner Kennedy and his Turnagrove cousins, most of whom I knew.
Gardner Kennedy died on the Swaben Redout on July 1st 1916 which is where his regiment the Royal Iniskilling Fusiliers fought Reg no:18637. Lance Corporal, Machine Gun Corps (Infantry) 1st Battalion Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers.
He has no known grave and is remembered on the Thiepval Memorial, and on the Coleraine War memorial, although on the latter his Christian name is incorrectly spelt. He enlisted on 5th October 1915.
His brother, Lieutenant John Alexander Kennedy, survived the war. However further tragedy struck the family on 2nd March 1917 when the Kennedy family lost their only daughter, Mary Boddie, wife of Geoffrey W Boddie.
About 1959 or 1960 I visited Edie Kennedy who (I presume) was Gardner Kennedy’s sister law at Ardbana House, a splendid detached house full of faded elegance. I met Jack, Edie’s son who was a wild child, liked building his own racing cars. Of Edie, I remember only a little old lady, shrunken but lively, sitting regally amongst the faded and cluttered Second Empire furniture in front of a huge fireplace with an enormous glassed domed clock on the mantel piece. The Kennedy family in the past had had money. Of our conversation I remember nothing except, reading my father’s notes, we talked of Irish History.
My father (JD Long OBE) born in 1915 never knew his cousin, but always wanted to keep his memory alive. In later life my father was upset to find that Gardner Kennedy’s name had been last omitted from the Commonwealth War Graves Commission’s Roll of Honour. He asked me to remedy this which I did with pleasure.
We took our children to Thiepval in 1996, and we have visited frequently since. Contrary to my father’s view when he visited Thiepval in the latter years of his life, I found Thiepval, a place of Cathedral – like peace and reconciliation, and the graveyards, places of sadness and of peace.
My husband and I visited the Swaben Redout and the Ulster Memorial two weeks ago. What a mission it was to capture, so many died, so much bravery. Now I know where Gardner Kennedy died and when he is most likely buried.
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Reasearched by John Mills. Leslie Hanson Marriage was born in Chelmsford in 1892. He was educated at Marlborough College from 1905 to 1910 and in the summer of 1910 passed into the Royal Military College Sandhurst. He left in late 1911 and was commissioned on the 20th September as a 2nd Lieutenant in the Yorkshire Regiment. He made Lieutenant on the 2nd September 1914. He went to France with the 2nd Battalion and was wounded near Ypres on the 29th October 1914. He served with the Motor Machine Gun Corps in France from 10th August 1915 and was again wounded in March 1916. This time his wounds were described as ‘shell shock’ though the actual details are unknown. He was repatriated to England for rehabilitation. Six months later in November 1916 he was fit enough to be given command of a Home Cadet Battalion. In November 1917 he was appointed to the Egyptian Expeditionary Force. April 1918 would see him back in France second in command of the 74th MGC taking part in the action around the Somme and Albert to the Hindenburg Line in September 1918. He was promoted to acting Lieutenant-Colonel in December 1918. He volunteered for service in Russia for which he sailed in May 1919. He was awarded the Military Cross in 1920 and retired from the Army in September 1922. He married in 1926 and died in 1935.
Submitted by Mike Crisp. Private 85882 Frederick Crisp, from Beccles, served in 2 regiments initially the 5th Royal Irish Lancers and subsequently the 8th Battalion Kings Liverpool Regiment. His photograph was allegedly taken at the Currugh. The war diary for Fred is quite detailed and it appears that he died in an unsuccessful evening attack on the Canal du Nord on 11th September 1918. The diary includes handwritten and typed operational orders and a post attack report. During this attack the battalion suffered 16 killed, 70 wounded and 13 missing. Fred is buried in the Commonwealth War Graves at the village of Mouvre.
John Matthew Hewison lived in Penshaw and enlisted at the start of the war at Shiney Row. He was the son of Matthew and Anne Hewison of Shiney Row and he was married to Agnes. He would have left for France in late August 1915 and the 8th Battalion would have been involved in training and undergoing acclimatisation visits to the front line when he was killed in action on September 22nd. 14961 Private John Hewison died at the age of 22 and had been in France for only 3 weeks. He was awarded the 14/15 Star, the British War Medal and the Victory Medal. His wife inherited his effects of 14s/4d and a gratuity of £3-10s. He was buried at Brewery Orchard Cemetery, Bois-Grenier.