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.
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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 The 1/6th was withdrawn from the battle area and moved north to Armentieres.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…
Photographic research by Stuart Hodgson. Charles Organ had a long career in the army before arriving at Richmond Depot and acting as Recruiting Officer during the First World War, as his record from our museum catalogue recounts: Born at Woolwich 13th October 1853. Charles Organ joined as a Private 13th January 1873, Corporal 11th October 1873, Sergeant 15th August 1874, Colour Sergeant 27th August 1875, promoted to RSM on the 20th April 1882 and QM 1883, Hon. Captain 8th August 1893, Hon. Major 29th November 1900. He served in Bermuda, Halifax, Malta, Egypt, Cyprus, Egypt, Gibraltar and South Africa. He was employed as the Regimental Transport Officer 12th Dec 1900 – Sept 1902. Retired on 1st September 1902 but was then appointed QM the Royal Hospital Chelsea October 1903 – 1st September 1912, Created a MVO by King Edward July 1905. He served in the Nile Expedition 1885, Sudan Frontier Force, 1885-6, Boer War 1899-1902 including operations around Colesberg, actions at Paardeberg, Kitchener’s Kop, Proplar Grove and Drifontein and the occupation of Bloemfontein, was with the advance on Dewetsdorp, and action at Leuukop, in the march to Pretoria, actions at Brandfort, Kroonstadt, Vet and Zand rivers, and Johannesburg: took part in the advance eastwards, including the battles of Diamond Hill and Belfast – mentioned in despatches. He served with the Depot between August and November 1914 and then appointed as Staff Recruiting Officer in December 1915 becoming the Sub Area Commander for Gosport on the 19th February 1916. Died at…
Captain Frank Woodcock 5th Battalion of the Yorkshire Regiment Captain Woodcock, who was only 22 years of age, was the youngest son of John and Elizabeth Woodcock of Driffield Yorkshire. He was killed in action during an assault on the 15th of September 1916. Frank was one of 6 children having 2 brothers and 3 sisters, the family must have been “comfortably off” because the 1901 census records his father as “living on his own means” and they had a servant called Margaret. He was educated at Bridlington School, where he was in the Officer Training Corps (O.T.C.). He became a Second Lieutenant in a Territorial Battalion in December 1912. He was promoted Lieutenant in April 1914 and then to Captain in May 1915. The Regimental Gazette recorded his death as follows: “The death of Captain Woodcock deprives his battalion of a very capable Company Commander and a very popular Officer. Despite his youth, he very soon proved himself an Officer of much resource and dauntless courage. He was wounded when wiring in front of the trenches in July 1915, and returned to France in January 1916 when he succeeded to the command of a Company. It was in this capacity that he showed himself a cool and capable Commander with great initiative and pluck, always setting a fine example to his men when any dangerous work had to be performed. He was twice mentioned in despatches. Captain Woodcock is buried at Flatiron Copse cemetery in France.