Elspeth De Montes told us about her grandad John MacKenzie, a carpenter, who was called up in August 1914.
“John had been working as a carpenter for James Bryce in Clephanton since April 1910 when he was called up on 4th August 1914. He enlisted with the Highland Mounted Brigade at Nairn eventually being posted to to Egypt in 1916. He worked chiefly on the wagons, greasing and making slight repairs but he also saw action throughout his time in Egypt. During an air raid at Ramleh on 27th November 1917 5 men were killed along with approximately 100 horses.”
John survived his time in Egypt, returning home on 4th April 1919. He kept some of his equipment in the Princess Mary Tin he received during his service. Elspeth still has his Princess Mary tin. He passed away in 1980.
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Sister Katherine (Kate) Evelyn Luard Kate was born in Averley Essex on the 29th June 1872, the daughter of the vicar and the tenth of thirteen children. Her childhood was spent at Aveley Vicarage and then Birch Rectory near Colchester. Between 1887 and 1890 she attended Croydon High School for Girls. Her headmistress and school founder, Dorinda Neligan, had been a nurse in the Franco-Prussian war of 1870/1, as well as being a suffragette and campaigner for women’s rights. She may well have been the inspiration for Katherine’s desire to go into nursing. On leaving school Kate took various jobs to earn money to train as a nurse. This she did at Kings College Hospital in London. In 1900 she served with the Army Nursing Service for two years in South Africa during the 2nd Boer War of 1899-1902. Following nursing work at home, on the 6th August 1914, aged 42, Kate enlisted in the Queen Alexandra’s Imperial Military Nursing Service Reserve. Kate served in France until 1918, firstly on ambulance trains then at Casualty Clearing Stations. She was awarded the Royal Red Cross and Bar, and was twice mentioned in dispatches for gallant and distinguished service in the field. Her various letters to her family at home were published in two books: ‘Diary of a Nursing Sister on the Western Front 1914-15’, published anonymously in 1915, and ‘Unknown Warriors: The Letters of Kate Luard RRC and Bar, Nursing Sister in France 1914-1918’ first published in 1930. Kate never married…
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.
Norman Angus was born at Southwick, Co. Durham in 1890. He was working as a miner prior to enlisting in September 1914. He was posted to the 8th Battalion of the Yorkshire Regiment. He would have been sent to France in September 1915 and he had a somewhat chequered career. He had been promoted to Corporal by early 1916 but was reduced to Private. He was wounded in December 1915 and again in September 1916 and unfortunately had to forfeit 6 days pay for unauthorised absence in 1917. 14043 Corporal Angus was awarded the 1915 Star, the British War Medal and the Victory Medal. He died aged 84 in March 1975.