Private 39588 Edward Price

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The west face of the war memorial at Brownhills, Staffordshire, commemorating the dead of 1914-1918.

This is another blog about the brave men commemorated on the cenotaph at St James, Brownhills, Staffordshire.  Here is what I have been able to find out about Private Edward Price, killed in action on the Somme battlefield, one hundred years ago today in 1918. Continue reading “Private 39588 Edward Price”

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Private 9704 William Bromley

Further exploration of those commemorated on the war memorial at St James, Brownhills, West Midlands.

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South face of the war memorial at St James, Brownhills, West Midlands.

Private 9704. Killed in action, France & Flanders, 29 Jun 1915. Sth Staffs Regt, 2nd Battalion, D Company.

1911 census: Lichfield Road, Brownhills, William Bromley, boarder with William and Sarah Ann Sands, colliery labourer underground. Not far from Railway Tavern. William was born at Stafford in about 1877.

In earlier censuses there are too many records for men named William Bromley born Stafford about the right time to work out which one is pertinent.

COMRADE REPORTS BROWNHILLS SOLDIER’S DEATH.

From Walsall Observer and South Staffordshire Chronicle 17 July 1915

Writing from the Front to Mr. William Colley, of Church Street, Brownhills, expressing deepest sympathy with them in the death of their son William, a local soldier. Private E. Tunshall, 2nd South Staffords, mentions that another Brownhills man in the same company (D) to lose his life was William Bromley, more familiarly known as “Squat,” who joined the regiment about the same time as the first battle of Ypres, and was killed in a recent bombardment. “He was a good soldier,” adds the writer, “and distinguished himself by carrying in wounded under fire at Festubert last May.” Going to the Front with the First Expeditionary Force, Private Tunshall states that he has had several lucky escapes. He was with the Staffords in the retreat from Mons, and took part in the battles of the Marne, Aisne, Ypres, Givency, Neuve-Chappelle, and latterly at Festubert and Richeburg.

Dates:

  • Ypres: 19 Oct – 11 Nov 1914 (According to the letter Pte Bromley joined the Battalion about this time.)
  • Cuinchy: 1 & 6 Feb 1915
  • Festubert: 15 May (The first night offensive of the war.) Position: between Cuinchy and Neuve-Chapelle.

In the letter is “last May”, but it could not have been May 1914, so, presumably, Pte Bromley’s rescue of wounded men must have been May 1915, perhaps at Festubert.

Private 6054 E Tunstall

Tunshall looked like a typo from the start.  I am unable to find an E Tunshall, but there was a Private E Tunstall, born Brownhills, serving with the Sth Staffords, listed as wounded on 4 Sep 1916, and entitled to wear a Wound Stripe.

According to the Walsall Observer and South Staffordshire Chronicle 1 July 1916, MEN WHO HAVE FOUGHT FOR THE MOTHERLAND, Private E Tunstall (Royal Engineers) of Watling Street, Brownhills, sustained a shattered knee and had a leg amputated.

I believe this 1911 census record is right:  At Newtown, Brownhills, Nr. Walsall, Edward Tunstall, son (should be stepson?) 27, single, coal miner loader, born Brownhills [about 1884].

From the War Diary:

CAMBRIN June 29: Battalion holding same line. 2nd Lieut. W DRAYCOTT WOOD was killed by a sniper whilst throwing bombs into a crater. … The enemy shelled our positions from 9 a.m. to 10.45 a.m. with 6″ high explosive projectiles, causing considerable damage to the front line trenches. The casualties sustained by us were slight, the total from 5 p.m. the previous day to 5 p.m. today being 1 Officer killed , 9 other ranks wounded. … At 5.35 p.m. The Germans lined their parapet. Our artillery opened fire. Simultaneously our troops opened with rapid fire accompanied by loud cheering all along the line. The enemy’s fire increased denoting that their front trenches were reinforced by their supports. At 5.45 p.m. the main mine was exploded. It is assumed that the enemy must have suffered heavily. Our casualties were 7 men killed, 1 man wounded. A man of the 1/King’s Regiment attached to the machine-gun section was wounded. …

So, one assumes Private Bromley was among the 7 killed that day, and, going on Pte Tunstall’s letter, probably during the shelling that morning.

I have not yet found where he is commemorated.

Sources include:

  • Ancestry.co.uk – England census, war diary.
  • Forces War Records (online) – movements and actions, basic record.
  • Press, as accredited, via Findmypast.
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In Flanders fields the poppies blow …

William Gerry

This is another exploration of the life of a man commemorated on the cenotaph in the churchyard of St James, Ogley Hay.  I chose this name simply because it seemed unusual for the area, but his story did turn out to be unusual.

Ogley Hay Cenotaph (south face)

William Gerry was a career soldier, but there are things missing from the records.  This is what I have found out so far. Continue reading “William Gerry”

George Dorsett (in memoriam)

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St James, Ogley Hay, south side, 2016.

In just one month’s time we will be remembering the dead from two world wars and other conflicts.  Here is another of my humble efforts to find out about those commemorated on the war memorial that stands in the churchyard to St James, Ogley Hay, in my home town of Brownhills in the West Midlands. Continue reading “George Dorsett (in memoriam)”

Worcester

Last week I stayed at Summerfield, just outside Kidderminster.  On Wednesday I doubled up boat-hunting with a trip to Worcester.  Here are few pictures of the cathedral and a few other things that caught my eye.

My main objective was Diglis Basin, but as I approached the cathedral the rain began.  But first, one of the city’s famous residents. Continue reading “Worcester”

Homage to Sugar

Today’s phonetic alphabet goes … Romeo, Sierra, Tango, but in the 1940s S was for Sugar.  In this post S-Sugar is a Lancaster bomber with a long list of raids.  My connection is that my uncle, Leading Aircraftman Frank Dennis, serviced the electrics and instruments on this very aircraft.  I blogged about this in Sugar Survives!.

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Lancaster bomber S-Sugar

I prefer this dark, sinister and menacing image of a night-time assassin, but a bit more detail can be seen in the next, adjusted image.  In the hangar the lighting is quite low and the underside in shadow, as it would have been when setting off on a raid, with only starlight or non-full moonlight.  The people serve to show just what a monster this was.  The wingspan was 102 ft (31 metres).

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Lancaster S-Sugar, brighter.

Uncle Frank never mentioned Grand Slam, so I suspect he never saw one, as it was expensive and used sparingly on the most difficult targets – see board below.

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Grand Slam. Barnes Wallis designed this 22,000 lb “earthquake” bomb to bury itself and destroy foundations of large structures.
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Information board about Avro Lancaster.
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Lancaster bomb bay with blockbuster bomb, at 12,000 lb, also designed by Barnes Wallis.

 

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S-Sugar, scale and unit markings.
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S-Sugar, brief history, information board.

Transcription

In its long career this Lancaster carried two sets of unit markings and three different designs of unofficial nose art work. These drawings show the aircraft in No. 83 Squadron markings as Q-Queenie and No. 467 Squadron Royal Australian Air Force as ‘S-Sugar’. The photographs illustrate the nose art work.

Whilst with No. 83 Squadron the aircraft carried a painting depicting a devil with the words “Devils of the Air”. On moving to No. 467 Squadron RAAF, ‘Q-Queenie’ was recoded ‘S-Sugar’ and received a fresh nose decoration of a kneeling nude supporting a bomb. Finally, whilst based at Waddington, it acquired the bomb-log and Goering’s foolishly extravagant claim.

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“No enemy plane will fly over the Reich territory”.  Herman Goering.

Sadly, the 467 Squadron badge is not on display, and although I reproduce the famous 617 “Dambusters” Squadron badge below, there is no connection, except the “Lanc”.

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Badge for 617 “Dambusters” Squadron.  Apres moi le deluge.

Clearly, the RAF Museum at Hendon is not just about this one aircraft.  The exhibits are well presented, with lots of explanatory material, and it is well worth a visit.  Entry is free, but you will have to pay £3 or £4 for parking.  The nearest tube stop is Colindale on the Northern Line.  Some rebuilding work is going on in anticipation of the centenary of the RAF in 2018, so some exhibits are not available.  I will return!

The King & Castle

Have I at long last found that illustrious ancestor connected to royalty?  Sadly, no.  This is about a trip last week to the Severn Valley Railway (SVR).  The King & Castle is the public house forming part of Kidderminster station, the eastern terminus of the heritage railway that runs through the Severn valley from Bridgnorth, Shropshire.  Speed has to Continue reading “The King & Castle”