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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Maureen Hunt told us about her grandfather, William Smith. William was born around 1883 in Wirksworth, Derbyshire and worked as a bath attendant at Matlock before the war. He volunteered early in the war and possibly joined the High Peak Rifles (later 6th battalion, Sherwood Foresters). He recounted to his family the horrors of war, having fought at the Battle of Ypres. Later in life he complained of chest pains as a result of having been gassed in the trenches. He was taken prisoner by the Germans on 21 March 1918, during the German Spring Offensive. He did not return to England until 1919. Gardening became a favourite pastime, helping him to cope with the mental and physical scars of war. William died in 1962 at almost 80 years of age.
Submitted by Pat Burgess. James Scott Bainbridge was born on 10 October 1887, the youngest of three sons, to William and Isabella, the family lived in Ravensworth. On leaving Barnard Castle school he joined the staff of the chemical laboratory of Rowntree & Co. of York. He subsequently spent three years at Leeds University where he graduated Bsc with first class honours in chemistry; he also took the Associateship of the Institute of Chemists, later becoming a Fellow of that Institute. He returned to the staff of Rowntrees and remained there until just before the war, when he was appointed chemist to the Thorne Colliery Company. James did not take up this appointment, as upon the outbreak of war he enlisted as a private in the Yorkshire Regiment, along with his two brothers. His abilities and qualities were soon recognised, and promotion came quickly. As a Company Sergeant Major he went with his battalion to France. When the men of his section experienced attacks of poison gas he was enabled, by his expert knowledge of chemistry, to protect them. He was mentioned in despatches in 1915, and received a commission on 22 November of that year. Shortly afterwards he was wounded. He was promoted to Lieutenant on 1st July 1917 and appointed Adjutant on the death of Capt Sproxton on 20 July, and promoted to Acting Captain on 3 August 1917. Capt James Scott Bainbridge was mentioned in Sir Douglas Haig’s Despatch of 7 April 1918 for distinguished and gallant…
Mairi Featherstone visited the museum to see if we could find out a little about her grandfather, David Logan’s First World War service. After a some investigation, it became clear that he had been in the Royal Field Artillery. On of the original postcards revealed that he had been at Scotton Camp (it is inscribed with “Cooks and Waiters, Sergeant’s Mess, Scotton Camp, Yorks 19/6”), which was eventually absorbed into Catterick Camp during the war. No 5 TF Artillery Training School was based at Scotton Camp in 1915, which is the most probable reason for his time there. David’s medal card shows that he was in France by May 1915. There are two regimental numbers on his medal card, an early number, 971 referring to the Territorial Force RFA and a second reference 645569. 645569 Gunner David Logan was entitled to the 1915 Star, the British War Medal and the Victory Medal at the end of his war service.