Christine Howie (née Magee) visited the museum to tell us about the sad story of her Grandfather, John Magee who was born in Birkdale in 1889. 30876 Private John Magee enlisted on 24th July 1915 and served with the 12th Battalion of the King’s Liverpool Regiment during the First World War. He was wounded by a shell burst which damaged his left wrist and led to him being hospitalised. The distinctive ‘hospital blues’ are shown on his photo, a uniform worn by enlisted men during treatment. The fingers of his hand were badly damaged and as a result he received the Silver War Badge – according to regulations he was “no longer physically fit for war service”.
At home in Southport John’s wife Annie was looking after the two children. In the photograph, Christine’s father Harry is depicted age three, with his elder brother John Alfred. Tragically, as the extract from her death certificate shows, Annie was to be one of the victims of the outbreak of Spanish flu. Her death came just a few days after the signing of the Armistice that brought about an end to the fighting. John’s sister Kitty took care of the children until John returned – to bring Harry and John Alfred up as a single parent.
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Phyllis was born in Dowlais, Glamorganshire, Wales in 1892, the daughter of Margaret Jane and David Thomas Jenkins. She joined the British Red Cross on the 21st of January 1918. Subsequently, she was stationed as a Voluntary Aid Detachment Nurse in the Other Empire Force, British Red Cross, Catterick Camp. Surviving photographs imply that Phyllis was part of the dental team stationed at Catterick. Phyllis volunteered at Catterick Camp until the 14th February 1919.
Edward was the Great Uncle of Robert Raw and Margaret Hird, who visited the museum during one of our Ribbon of Remembrance drop-in days. Edward, born in Richmond (he lived for at time along Frenchgate and then at 3 Maison Dieu) worked as a plumber for the North Eastern Railway, and enlisted after the outbreak of war in York. He became a Private in the 17th (Service) Battalion (NER Pioneers), a group whose skills were vital in constructing and maintaining the railways that developed behind the lines which kept the troops equiped and fed for the duration of the war. Edward was killed on 2nd November 1917, during the period where the battalion were working on light railways in the Ypres sector and suffered from shrapnel and gas shelling as well as high-explosives. Edward Barker is buried in Bard Cottage Cemetery, Belgium.
Arthur was born at Smeaton Hall , Great Smeaton, Northallerton, Yorkshire on the 9th September 1877. He was the son of Colonel A. F. Godman. He was educated at Rugby School and was commissioned 2nd Lieutenant, Yorkshire Regiment in May 1898. Whilst serving in India he wrote two articles for The Green Howrads Gazette. One was about ‘G’ Company’s donkey! Apparently awarded an Army Temperance Medal despite having a taste for alcohol! Advancing to Lieutenant in November 1900 he saw service in Somaliland. Promoted Captain in January 1906 and, after a posting in South Africa, returned to the UK to serve as Adjutant for the University of London Officer Training Corps. He was appointed Staff Captain attached to the 21st Infantry Brigade in 1914. Severely wounded at Ypres on the 30th October 1914, on recovery he was posted to the General Staff in France. Promoted Major in August 1915 he was attached to the 4th Brigade, Royal Flying Corps. He served as Brigade Major during the Battle of the Somme and advanced to Temporary Lieutenant Colonel, Assistant Adjutant General, on the RFC staff from July 1917. By the end of the war he was a Brigadier-General and was confirmed as a Wing Commander in August 1919. The following month he was posted as Assistant Commander, RAF Cranwell. He was posted to RAF HQ India at Simla being promoted to Group Captain in June 1923. Returning the following year to the UK he served consecutively as: Officer Commanding, School of Technical…