Lieutenant Thomas Ginger. Signals Officer. 4th Battalion.
Thomas Ginger was awarded the Military Cross as a result of his bravery during the German ‘Spring Offensive’ of March 1918. In the citation for his award it describes how ‘On the first day his senior Officers were killed and in numerous rear-guard actions he found himself in command of considerable bodies of men’.
One such example is during the retreat across the River Somme near Brie, when Ginger was ordered to take his men and cover the retreat of the remains of the 50th Division. He took his tired men to the far bank and took up positions to hold the advancing Germans back. At the same Lt George Begg, 239/Field Company was wiring the bridge that the retreating men were crossing. As German troops started to appear on the horizon and the last of the Durham Light Infantry crossed the bridge, Begg primed the detonator and pressed the plunger home. Nothing happened. This was repreated three times. When the bridge did blow, Begg looked across the river to see Ginger and his men still focusing fire on their foe. Eventually Ginger managed to construct a rudimentary footbridge, allowing his men to cross to safety.
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Colin Parker’s Grandfather, Earnest Tewson A/Cpl 13277 joined the Yorkshire regiment in Eston. He was awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal, 1915 Star, British War Medal and Victory Medal. This was for conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty. He held onto his post, after his platoon commander had been killed, and only withdrew when the situation was secure, and all his ammunition and bombs had been expanded, he saved the whole line from been turned. After the war, Earnest worked at Dorman Long, married Ava (Abby), and went on to have two children Elsie and Lily (Mr Parker’s mother), and lived in Grangetown, near Eston.
Harry was born sometime in the 2nd quarter of 1880 in Richmond North Yorkshire. He was the son of John James and Martha Kinchin of 11 Castle Hill Richmond. His father worked as a joiner. Harry was the eldest of eight children. The 1901 census shows Harry, 20, Walter 18, Allanson 16, Annie, 14, Moses 11, Martha 8, Elizabeth 5 and James Stroud 1. By the 1911 census Harry was married to Priscilla and had two daughters, Lilla 7 and Muriel Martha 1, and a son Walter 4. Harry also made a living as a joiner. At the time they resided at 7 Reynoldson Yard in Richmond. At the outbreak of war Harry and his brother Allanson joined up and went into the 4th Battalion Yorkshire Regiment. Harry and Allanson left with the 4th Battalion from Newcastle for France on the 17th April 1915 and after disembarking at Boulogne on the 18th arrived at Ypres by the 23rd. The Battalion was immediately involved in the 2nd Battle of Ypres and on the 24th April were ordered to make an attack on St Julien. During the attack 5 officers and 10 other ranks were killed. On the next day, the 25th, the Battalion had just the one man killed in the trenches. Harry’s death is recorded as the 25th so he could have been that single death, or it’s possible that he was actually killed the day before. He was 34 years of age. Harry may have been buried after his…
Philip Mayne was the last surviving British officer from World War One to die. He died at the age of 107 years and 139 days at a care hostel in Richmond, North Yorkshire in 2007. Philip’s war service was was brief and he never saw any action. However he was the last verteran to die who held the rank of officer. This happened thanks to a cadetship into the Royal Engineers which meant he was fast-tracked to second lieutenant — the lowest officer rank — in September 1918 at the age of just 18. The war ended six weeks later and he was demobilised on Christmas Eve 1918 without having set foot in France. Following the war he studied at Cambridge and became an engineer. With a birth date of 22 November 1899, Mr Mayne was alive in the 19th, 20th and 21st centuries. At his death he had three children, eight grandchildren and twenty-one great-grandchildren.