Submitted by Jon Bemrose.
Robert William Watson was the Fourth son of Alfred and Annie Watson, of 15, Ashville St., Bridlington. Before the outbreak of hostilities he was a fireman of the North Eastern Railway at Bridlington. 241608 Private Robert Watson served in the 5th Battalion Yorkshire Regiment and died on 28th October 1917 aged 21. His name is inscribed on the Tyne Cot Memorial in Belgium and on the cenotaph in Bridlington.
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Submitted by Pauline Blewis. George was born in Old Malton and joined the Green Howards in around 1905. In the same year he married Annie Hemstock, a Richmond girl. Their family of three sons and a daughter were raised in the barracks, now the Garden Village. George served during the Boer War and during the First World War was transferred to the 13th Battalion (October 1915)- the battalion was made up of ‘Bantams’. George served through the war up to the Battle of Cambrai. On 23rd November 1917 he was sent up to the front line with his battalion with the aim of taking Bourlon Wood and village. Tanks were sent in with the infantry following up, eventually the village was taken after hand to hand fighting. George died during this advance and while his body was never found his name is inscribed on Panel 5 of the Cambrai Memorial. After his death the family were moved from the barracks into a house inside Richmond Castle.
Peter Seaden-Jones visited us at a drop-in session at Richmond Station. From a photograph of his grandfather, we have managed to piece together the key details of Ernest John Pilcher’s war story. Ernest John Pilcher was born in Pietermaritzberg, Natal, South Africa in around 1881. According to the 1891 census, he appears to live in Chester as the 9 year old son of Frederick and Lucy Pilcher. He has a sister Edith and two brothers Archie and Arthur. His siblings are born in the U.K. but his father’s occupation as an Army Warrant Officer may explain Ernest’s birth in South Africa. On the 26th of December 1907 at the age of 26 he married Florence Alltimes at the Balham Hill Ascension church in Streatham. Florence was 23 years old at the time of their wedding. His occupation is recorded as a grocer. In the 1911 census Ernest and Florence were recorded as living at 23, Sussex street in Pimlico. He is listed as “Manager in the business of grocery stores”. Marjorie Edith their daughter was just 2 years old. At the age of 34 years and 6 months he enlisted in the army on the 22nd of November 1915. By this time his attestation record shows that he and Florence have a second daughter Peggy Dorothy born on the 6th of July 1913. Their address is now 20, Bellenden Road, Camberwell and his occupation is recorded as a “Traveller”. Although originally assigned to the Royal Field Artillery he transferred to…
Researched by John Mills Herbert was born on the 16th June 1885 in India. He was baptised on the 8th July 1885 at St John’s Church in Meerut. He was the son of George Friend, a Lance Corporal in the Kings Own Scottish Borders. Nothing is known about Herbert’s childhood and early life. In fact the next that is known about Herbert is that he is a soldier with the Yorkshire Regiment. His service number, 9970, would indicate that he joined around December 1911 and was in the 2nd Battalion. He had been stationed at The Curragh at some point and while there he met his future wife Nora who lived nearby on the Harrison Estate in County Kildare. They were married on the 21st January 1916 while Herbert was home on leave from France. He attained the rank of Corporal on the 31st October 1914 and by October 1916 was a CSM. Herbert would survive the war and by 1919 he was part of the Expeditionary force sent to the Archangel area of Russia to assist the White Russians against the Bolsheviks. This campaign is well documented for the severe conditions and brutality. By September 1919 he was on his way home but in a poor state of health. Herbert and Nora settled in Reading and had two children, George and Enid. On the 14th January 1924 Herbert left the service’ He was given a presentation clock, the inscription reading ‘A token of esteem from members of the Mess…