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.
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Story submitted by Mrs Drury, a resident of Richmond. Nancy Bainbridge was born in Weardale, County Durham in May 1894. She was one of eight children whose parents were hardy hill farmers. Nancy was a very practical person and joined Queen Alexandra’s Imperial Military Nursing Service in 1914. Nancy served at a military hospital in East Anglia where the nurses received casualties straight from the Somme. Her upbringing on a farm had afforded her some preparation for the ensuing, distressing sights and sounds. She described how the men arrived with mud and tufts of grass in their wounds. The nurses found out the hard way that soldiers’ skin, subjected to the mustard gas attacks in the trenches, could not be washed with water as that inflicted pain. Nancy received many deathbed requests. After the war Nancy worked as a private nurse in families with disabled soldiers and patients with other conditions. She married Captain Jack (John Adam) Bell. Nancy had a brother William, also a hill farmer and ten years older. He joined the Northumberland Fusiliers, but saw little service because, when detailed to chop an officer some sticks, a splinter blinded him in one eye. Another sibling, Violet, worked in Barnard Castle’s recruiting office. Her soldier husband Harry Raine was awarded the Military Cross. The medal was presented to the Bowes Museum, Barnard Castle.
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.
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…