Otto Wedgewood was born in July 1882 at Bredgar in Kent to Rowland and Annie Wedgwood. He was a descendant of Thomas Wedgwood, the elder brother of the famous potter Josiah Wedgewood. Otto was one of six children. The 1891 census has Otto’s father’s occupation as ‘living on own means’ and was successful enough to employ two servants.
The 1901 census shows Otto was living at the home of his nephew George Maxstead in Hornsea Yorkshire. Otto at the time was an Engineer Apprentice.
On the 24th October 1914 Otto embarked from London to Bombay in India. His occupation on the passenger list is given as ‘Expert’ and presumably the trip was work related. It is not certain when he returned to Britain. However, it probable that he felt he had to ‘do his bit’ for the war effort and so came home. He subsequently joined the Royal Engineers. From the 4th May 1917 he served with CRE IX Corps. The London Gazette of the 4th December 1915 details Otto attaining the rank of 2nd Lieutenant. By the end of the war he was a Captain.
Otto spent time in Canada in the early 1930s but by 1939 he was back in England working as a Cement Works Manager at Gravesend in Kent. In 1944 he married Stella Vincett in Chatham.
Otto died on the 23rd May 1957 and was cremated five days later at Greenwich in London. He was 74 years old.
Otto’s Granddaughter, Jeanette Schofield, in Richmond.
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Story submitted by Mrs Drury. Jack (John Adam) Bell was the son of a gamekeeper at Langdon Beck in Teesdale, County Durham. He grew up in the countryside a became a railway clerk. When he joined the army and went to experience life in the trenches he had the horror of standing next to a fellow soldier when his head was blown off. Jack also had to endure the news that his own brother had been killed. Jacks country knowledge became most useful in the mire of Flanders. He would cut trenches to make a sleeping place out of the mud, trap rabbits and stew them in a metal helmet. He would look after horses for officers who had never had to look after their own mounts before. He described how starved the horses were near the front line – the near stampedes when fodder was brought and how the horses gnawed each others’ manes and tails for food. He remembered how long the cavalry had to stand mounted and how weak horses collapsed. Remounts were needed constantly and Jack was sent in to break in and train them. He was stationed on the Thames, possibly at Tilbury, to receive horses, practically wild sent by ship from South America and often in a sorry state on arrival. He had six weeks to prepare each batch (size unknown) for dispatch abroad. During this training Jack rode these recovered and lively horses with a ladies side saddle as he said it was…
Diane Hawthorne sent in a request for us to look into her grandfather’s First World War service – this is what we managed to discover. Gosnay William Riley attested on 10th December 1915 into the 11th Battalion Yorkshire Regiment at Brighouse and was assigned the regimental number 27654. The 11th was a Home Service Battalion dealing with Drafts and Reinforcements. In September 1916 the 11th amalgamated with the 16th Durham Light Infantry as a Training Battalion thereby losing its distinct identity. At some time prior to this Gosnay transferred to the 10th Battalion Yorkshire Regiment. He had been promoted to the rank of Corporal. Sometime thereafter he transferred to the 9th York and Lancaster Regiment. His Regimental number was 34441. On the 3rd March 1919 he became a reservist in the British Army with many thousands of others.
Submitted by Will Young. 1/6th (Perthshire) Battalion, Black Watch (Royal Highlanders) Thomas Young (TEY), my grandfather, was born in 1874 and commissioned into 4th (Volunteer) Battalion, Black Watch in 1898. At the outbreak of the First World War, he commanded “F” (Auchterarder) Company, 1/6th Black Watch, and was mobilised on 5th August 1914 and went with them to their war station which was at North Queensferry on the north side of the River Forth close to the railway bridge. He did not accompany the battalion when it went overseas in May 1915, and until he did go to France he served with one of the reserve battalions at various locations in the UK. TEY re-joined the 1/6th near Arras on 9th July 1916. The battalion went south to the Somme and after their costly attack near High Wood the Officer commanding “C” Company was killed, he took over its command. The 1/6th was withdrawn from the battle area and moved north to Armentieres. They stayed in this area until early October and during this time spent 28 days in the trenches, sometime in a “Rest Camp” and the remainder of the time training or working, and one day at the Divisional Horse Show. The battalion moved back to the Somme and on the 13th November he was wounded at Beaumont Hamel, during the Battle of the Ancre. After treatment in a hospital in France he was evacuated to the UK. He did not return to the front and left the…