William Colling – Sunderland
Joseph William Colling was the father of Brenda Crinall of Little Crakehall, who called in at the museum with a friend who wanted to contribute a story to the Ribbon of Rememberance. Brenda didn’t really know a great deal about her father’s participation in the war, but was interested when we offered to take a look and see if any records still existed from that time. As fortune would have it, her father’s service record was available to see and so we were able to piece together some of his experiences from the time of the First World War.
Before enlisting Colling worked as a sorting clerk and telegraphist for the G.P.O. in Sunderland. Prior to going to German East Africa (G.E.A.) in 1916 he served for 13 months in France. Some of the most dangerous activities he undertook was to lay cables as close to the enemy lines as possible. These cables were essential for information and orders to be relayed to and from the battlefront. In 1916 the German plan for war in G.E.A. was to divert Allied forces away from the Western Front in Europe. Colling sailed from Devonport on the 8th of February 1916 and he arrived in Durban on the 6th of March.On the 14th of March he arrived at Kildini inlet near Mombassa. Over the next few months he and his comrades came under heavy attack several times as they advanced south towards German forces.This included fierce action near Kilosa.
At times they ran short of rations, suffered terrible weather conditions and eventually he contracted malaria in September.He was hospitalised in Dar es Salaam, Durban and Wynberg hospital in Cape Town. When he eventually returned to England at the end of 1916 he was detailed for home service.
He died on the 15 of August 1949 aged 53. His grave bears the inscription, “All great men are not good, but all good men are great”
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Carol Sheard of Richmond shared these details with us about her grandfather. Henry Tissiman was born on 10 July 1892. Aged 22, he enlisted on 12th April 1915 at Scarborough as L/12208 Driver H Tissiman with the Royal Field Artillery. He was posted to ‘C’ Battery, 161 Brigade. He went to France on 30th December 1915 from Liverpool and landed at le Havre. He suffered the effects of gas and was briefly hospitalised on 28th February 1916. His service record details that he was granted leave to return home 17th September 1918 until the 1st October during which time he married Emily Guest. This photograph was taken on their wedding day, 21st October 1918. He died on 30th July 1992 at Harrogate.
Ruth Kendon came into the museum and told us the story of her father, Reginald Howes. Reginald Howes (1889-1977) attended the University of London Officer Training Corps (OTC) between 6 May 1915 and 20 July 1916 before being commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant in the Yorkshire Regiment on 21 July 1916. He served with the 4th Battalion as temporary Adjutant and Intelligence Officer, and was wounded on 15 September 1916 at Kemmel, just south of Ypres. Ruth remembers him saying he was wounded on the day tanks were first used. Howes was awarded the Military Cross in March 1918, for “conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty” on the Somme, during the Kaiserschlacht offensive and promoted to Captain the following month. He was taken prisoner on 27 May 1918 and released on 14 December 1918. Ruth kindly donated a number of items which belonged to her father to the museum for safekeeping.
Ernest Pigg was the son of James and Maria Louise Pigg of 7 Langley Avenue, Thornaby on Tees. He enlisted in late 1914 and was posted to the 8th Battalion of the Yorkshire Regiment. The 8th Battalion left for France in late August 1915 and took over trenches in the area of La Rolanderie and Bois-Greniers. Having been in France for only one month 11605 Private Ernest Pigg is reported to have died of wounds on 28th September. He was buried at Sailly-sur-la-Lys Canadian Cemetery in the Pas-de-Calais. He was awarded the 1915 Star, the British War Medal and the Victory Medal. His effects, which were left to his father James, constituted £2-2s and a gratuity of £3-10s.