Beach Portraits - Pages of the Sea

Beach Portraits

  • West Sands, Fife
    Elsie Maud Inglis

    Age: 53 Date of Death: 26/11/1917

    Elsie Inglis was an avowed suffragist and ally of campaigner Millicent Fawcett, who combined her medical background with a yearning for social justice.

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    Doctor Elsie Maud Inglis (16 August 1864 – 26 November 1917)

    Elsie Inglis was an avowed suffragist and ally of campaigner Millicent Fawcett, who combined her medical background with a yearning for social justice. Born in Naini, India, she came to Scotland with her parents when still young. Inglis trained as a surgeon in Edinburgh and Glasgow, at first seeking to improve facilities and healthcare for women. In 1901, she founded a maternity hospital for the poor in Edinburgh – The Hospice – staffed only by women.

    At the outbreak of war, she was instrumental in setting up the Scottish Women’s Hospitals for Foreign Service Committee, a body funded by the suffrage movement to provide all-female care. Rebuffed by Great Britain’s War Office, which told her to “go home and sit still”, Inglis’s help was accepted by the French, who sent her unit first to Serbia, where she was instrumental in improving hygiene to reduce epidemics such as typhus. Despite being captured and repatriated in 1915, Inglis then went to work in Russia before she was diagnosed with a terminal illness and returned to Britain in November 1917. She passed away the day after she arrived home.

  • Ayr, Ayrshire
    Walter Daniel John Tull

    Middlesex Regiment

    Age: 29 Date of Death: 25/03/1918

    Walter Tull found fame as a one of Britain's first black footballers and the first ever black officer to command white troops.

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    Second Lieutenant Walter Tull (28 April 1888 – 25 March 1918)

    Walter Tull found fame as a one of Britain’s first black footballers and the first ever black officer to command white troops. Born in Folkestone, his mother was from Kent and his father a carpenter from Barbados. Both of Walter’s parents died before he was 10, after which he was brought up in a London orphanage. Walter became an apprentice printer before signing for Tottenham Hotspur in 1909, becoming a professional football player.

    In 1914, Walter volunteered for the Footballers’ Battalion, 17th Middlesex regiment. Two years later, he was promoted to sergeant while serving in France, before returning home after the battle of the Somme to be treated for trench fever and possible shell shock. Having recovered, he was sent to Ayrshire for officer training. His brother Edward, Britain’s first registered Black dentist, was brought up by adoptive parents in Glasgow and became a friend of Rangers player James Bowie. Walter was invited to play for the club and may have participated in friendly matches.

    Walter returned to the front as the British Army’s first Black officer. After a period of fighting in Italy, Walter was posted back to France and killed in March 1918 at Arras. Although his men tried to rescue their officer after seeing him shot, his body was never found.

  • Roseisle Beach, Moray
    Charles Hamilton Sorley

    Age: 20 Date of Death: 13/10/1915

    Sorley was travelling in Germany at the start of hostilities and interned for one night in a prison at Trier. Making his way back to England, he applied for a commission in the Suffolk regiment and served in the trenches in France.

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    Captain Charles Hamilton Sorley (19 May 1895 – 13 October 1915)

    Son of William Ritchie Sorley, professor of moral philosophy at the University of Aberdeen, Charles Hamilton Sorley was a precocious child. When Sorley was aged 5, the family moved from Scotland to Cambridge, where he attended King’s College choir school before going to Marlborough College. Sorley began publishing poetry in his school journal and won a scholarship to University College, Oxford.

    Sorley was travelling in Germany at the start of hostilities and interned for one night in a prison at Trier. Making his way back to England, he applied for a commission in the Suffolk regiment and served in the trenches in France. Sorley was killed in the Battle of Loos at the age of 20, having received a gunshot wound to his head. After his death, a final poem, When You See Millions of the Mouthless Dead was discovered in his kitbag. The next year, a posthumous collection of Sorley’s works was published, with many of his peers agreeing he would have found greater literary success had he lived.

  • Culla Bay, Isle of Benbecula
    Duncan MacKinnon

    Age: 23 Date of Death: 23/03/1916

    Duncan MacKinnon was one of six brothers who all went to war. Out of the six, he and his brother Neil (born 1899) were killed.

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    Duncan MacKinnon (1893 – 23 March 1916)

    Duncan MacKinnon was one of six brothers who all went to war. Out of the six, he and his brother Neil (born 1899) were killed. Their brother, the Bard Hector MacKinnon, survived the war despite being torpedoed and subsequently rescued. This had a lasting effect on Hector, evident from his poetry.

    Duncan was born in Isle of Berneray to Mary and Finlay MacKinnon. During the war, he served on the armed trawler Corona, one of many small ships that formed the Auxiliary Patrol, with tasks including minesweeping and anti-submarine operations. The Corona was sunk near Ramsgate, Kent, and Duncan is buried in the town’s cemetery. Neil was a deck hand on HMS Nairn, and was awarded a Victory Medal and British War medal. He survived until 8 May 1919.

  • Swansea
    Dorothy Mary Watson

    Date of Death: 31/07/1917

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    Dorothy Mary Watson (1899 – 31 July 1917)

    Dorothy Mary Watson was born to William and Mary Watson in Bristol, though by 1911 she had moved with her family to Port Tennant Road, St Thomas, Swansea. During the war, Dorothy went to work at the impressive Pembrey Munitions Factory, Llanelli, a major supplier of explosives. Munitions workers played a crucial role in the First World War. They supplied the troops at the front with the armaments and equipment they needed to fight and often employed women to free up men from the workforce to join the armed forces. The women were known as ‘munitionettes’ and worked long hours in often dangerous conditions. Dorothy was one of many women employed at Pembrey where she worked alongside Mildred Owen, who lived at Bridge Street, Swansea.

    On 31 July 1917, Dorothy and Mildred were ferrying bags between buildings on site. That particular part of the factory was used to filter hazardous substances when an explosion killed the two women along with four men. The funeral of the two female employees in Swansea drew a huge crowd, with their coffins draped in Union Jacks while fellow workers, many in uniform, acted as bearers. An inquest was unable to identify the cause of the tragedy.

  • Freshwater West
    Charles Alan Smith Morris

    Bedfordshire Regiment

    Age: 21 Date of Death: 07/05/1917

    Only son of Charles Smith Morris and Maud Marv Morris, of Llandaff House, Llandaff, Cardiff.

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    Major Charles Alan Smith Morris (15 May 1895 – 7 May 1917 )

    Born in Bridgend and raised in Porthcawl, Charles Smith went up to Pembroke College, Cambridge, in 1913. Despite never having held an oar before, he joined his college rowing team and helped them to victory, including winning a prize at Henley.

    Any hopes of gaining a Cambridge Blue through rowing for the university were halted by the outbreak of war, when Morris was granted a commission in the Bedfordshire regiment. In 1915, he was wounded at Neuve Chapelle and returned home, where he began to recover. Morris was sent out again to the Western Front, now promoted to the rank of major, where he fell wounded in an attack at La Courcelette. Left in no man’s land he was reported as missing, believed dead.

    However, several months later the Red Cross informed his family that the Germans had found Morris seriously wounded and cared for him in their own field hospital, though he was to die later from a fever.

  • Ynyslas, Ceredigion
    Richard Davies

    Age: 54

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    Richard Davies (29 December 1863 – 25 March 1917)

    Richard Davies was born in Borth, Cardiganshire/Ceredigion, near Yynyslas beach, and in 1888 married Mary. Three years later, they had their first son, Richard, at which time Richard senior was serving on the Nant Franeon, based at Saithaclwyd, Flintshire. Later his family home was recorded as Borth, at Wern Fach, then Wesleyan Place. In total, Richard and Mary had four sons and two daughters.

    By 1917, Richard was a deck hand on the naval trawler Evangel, as a member of the Royal Naval Reserve, the fleet’s volunteer force of civilian sailors. Evangel was one of many civilian ships acquired for military use as part of the Auxiliary Patrol, with tasks including minesweeping and anti-submarine operations. She was sunk off Milford Haven, Pembrokeshire, struck by a mine laid by a German U-boat. Richard was among 15 men from the Evangel to die at sea.

  • Colwyn Bay, Conwy
    Ellis Humphrey Evans

    Royal Welsh Fusiliers

    Age: 30 Date of Death: 31/07/1917

    Son of Evan and Mary Evans, of Trawsfynydd, Merioneth. One of the war poets, who wrote poetry under the name 'Hedd Wyn'.

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    Private Ellis Humphrey Evans ‘Hedd Wyn’ (13 January 1887 – 31 July 1917)

    Despite only receiving a basic education, Ellis Evans became Wales’s most famous poet of the Great War. The eldest of 11 children, Evans developed his interest in poetry while growing up in the village of Trawsfynydd and wrote Welsh-language verses while working as a shepherd on the family farm from an early age.

    Evans left school aged 14 and went on to win his first major poetry prize at the 1907 Bala Eisteddfod – three years later he was given the special bardic name of Hedd Wyn, meaning ‘blessed peace’. His fame began to spread among literary circles as he won numerous competitions. As a Christian pacifist, Evans believed he could never kill anybody so stayed with his family during the first years of the war, although he eventually joined up to spare his 18-year-old brother Bob.

    Enlisting with the Royal Welsh Fusiliers, Evans was sent to France where he continued to write poetry. He was killed going over the top on the first day of the battle of Passchendaele. Two months later, his work, submitted anonymously, won the Welsh National Eisteddfod in Birkenhead – the greatest honour in Welsh poetry. His name was read out three times before the organisers announced that the poet had died six weeks before. The empty chair was covered with a black veil and the ceremony became known as The Eisteddfod of the Black Chair.

  • Downhill, Derry / Londonderry
    Rachel Ferguson

    Queen Alexandra's Imperial Military Nursing Service

    Date of Death: 26/06/1918

    Daughter of John Stewart Ferguson and Annie Ferguson, of Lanebrooke House, Ballygoney, Moneymore, Co. Derry.

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    Staff Nurse Rachel Ferguson (1886 – 26 June 1918)

    Rachel Ferguson was part of Queen Alexandra’s Imperial Military Nursing Service, one of the main providers of female nurses for the British Army. During the war, 10,000 members of the service were deployed as far afield as India and East Africa.

    Rachel was the daughter of John Stewart and Annie Ferguson, of Lanebrooke House, Ballygoney, Moneymore, County Derry, with three brothers and three sisters. She was educated at Ballygoney National School and Lady’s School, Cookstown, before training at the Royal Victoria Hospital, Belfast.

    During the war, she served in Italy, where Commonwealth forces operated from November 1917, with medical units based behind the front. The 62nd General Hospital was posted at the town of Bordighera, Liguria, from January 1918 onwards. Rachel had returned from leave on May 25, but on June 26 she was admitted there as a patient, suffering from bronchopneumonia. She was by already dangerously ill and died later that day. Rachel now lies at rest in Bordighera British Cemetery.

  • Port Bán, Dunree
    John Buckley

    Age: 21 Date of Death: 25/01/1917

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    Seaman John Buckley (22 November 1893 – 25 January 1917)

    John Buckley died while serving as a merchant seaman aboard the SS Laurentic, which sank off the Donegal coast, after she struck mines laid by a German U-Boat. The ocean liner had set off from an unscheduled stop at Buncrana when she was holed just off Lough Swilly. It only took 20 minutes for the ship to go down.

    Originally operated by the White Star Line – also famous for its ill-fated Titanic – Laurentic had been converted during the war into an armed merchant cruiser. She was carrying soldiers back to Canada, but was also laden with an estimated 43 tonnes of gold ingots at the time of its sinking, worth £300 million. She stopped in Buncrana to drop off some ill seafarers after an outbreak of yellow fever.

    Local fishermen rescued the survivors, although many that made it to the lifeboats died due to extreme cold weather that evening. John had been born in Youghal, County Cork, to Mary and Patrick Buckley. He is commemorated on the Plymouth Naval Memorial, Devon.

  • Seahouses, Northumberland
    William Jonas

    Middlesex Regiment

    Age: 26 Date of Death: 27/07/1916

    Husband of Mary Jane Jonas, of 41, Shafto Terrace, New Washington, Co. Durham. Former player with Clapton Orient Football Club.

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    Private William Jonas (September 1890 – 27 July 1916)

    Born in Blyth, Northumberland, William Jonas played for local football clubs Jarrow Croft and Havanna Rovers before joining London-based Clapton (later Leyton) Orient in 1912 on the recommendation of his childhood friend and forward for the club, Richard McFadden.

    With Jonas’s speed and passing ability, Orient thrived in the years before the First World War, although in January 1915 he was sent off during a match against Millwall for fighting with their goalkeeper, inciting a riot in the crowd. When professional football was suspended, Jonas joined the 17th Battalion, Middlesex Regiment, known as the Football Battalion as it was formed around a core of professional players who had all volunteered.

    During the battle of the Somme, Jonas and McFadden were trapped in a trench under heavy fire while fighting in Delville Wood. Jonas raced out and his old friend from Blyth witnessed him shot and killed instantly. Thousands of men from Northumberland perished during the war, William’s hometown was the site of the second air raid on British soil.

  • Murlough, County Down
    John McCance

    Age: 22 Date of Death: 16/08/1917

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    John McCance (c. 1895? – 16 August 1917)

    John McCance was born in Dundrum, County Down, close to Murlough Beach. At the March 1901 census, he was five-years-old, the fifth child and second son of May Jane and James, a blacksmith. He enlisted in Downpatrick, perhaps in the 13th Battalion, Royal Irish Rifles, raised in the town in September 1914.


    Certainly, he was one of several men from the area to perish at Passchendaele, the ridge east of Ypres that was the site of one of the most costly battles and some of the harshest conditions of the war. Not only did British troops face stiff resistance, but attacks became bogged down in unusually wet weather.

    John was reported missing on 16 August 1917, as reported in a local newspaper: his parents living at New Row, Clarkhill, Annsborough sought news on what had happened to him. He has no known grave and is commemorated on the Tyne Cot memorial, Belgium, along with 35,000 others. John’s name is also recorded on the war memorial in the village of Castlewellan, a plaque on the Old Courthouse wall.

  • Roker, Sunderland
    Hugh Carr

    Royal Engineers

    Age: 24 Date of Death: 23/01/1916

    Son of Thomas and Mary A. Carr, of Chilton Moor, Fence Houses, Co. Durham. Native of Houghton-le-Spring, Co. Durham.

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    Second Lieutenant Hugh Carr (13 July 1891 – 23 January 1916)

    Hugh Carr was born in Sunderland Street, Houghton-Le-Spring, County Durham, to Mary Ann and Thomas Carr. From October 1914 to October 1915 he served as a trooper in the Household Cavalry 1st Life Guards. By then, the western front had reached stalemate, with soldiers fighting in trenches.

    Underground warfare, especially the laying of explosive mines below enemy positions, became a key tactic, leading to the formation of specialist tunnelling companies that relied on former miners from areas such as County Durham. So Hugh transferred to the Royal Engineers, 172 Tunnelling Company, formed in February of that year, with the rank of second lieutenant.

    Based in the hard-fought Ypres Salient, Belgium, and in cold, dark and dangerous conditions, his work would have involved digging deep defences and communications, planting mines and counterattacking enemy tunnels. On 21 January, Carr was fatally wounded when a shell landed in his trench, injuring his right leg, head and left arm. He was evacuated to 10 Casualty Clearing Station, Remy Siding, Poperinge, but died two days later.

  • Redcar, Tees Valley
    Theophilius Jones

    Age: 29 Date of Death: 16/12/1914

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    Private Theophilus Jones (14 September 1885 – 16 December 1914)

    Private Theophilus Jones of the Durham Light Infantry (DLI) is believed to have been the first military casualty on British soil from enemy fire during the First World War. Born in Darlington, County Durham, to Lettie Jones, he moved to Leicestershire to become headmaster at Thurlingstone School, where he was also church choirmaster and played for Coalville Rugby Club.

    At the outbreak of war he returned home to join the DLI and in October his home address was Ash Grove Avenue, West Hartlepool. Jones was on guard duty in the town famous for its ironworks and shipyards when the German navy launched a bombardment. Jones was killed by fragments of a shell fired from a warship in a notorious attack that also killed 100 civilians. In the breast pocket of his tunic, Jones had been carrying a prayer book given by his former pupils.

    His funeral was attended by 500 members of the county battalion, plus members of the Schools Athletic Association and West Hartlepool Cricket Club, with which Jones was also connected. Hundreds of people also assembled outside the church and along the route to the cemetery.

  • Sutton-on-Sea, Lincolnshire
    Basil Perrin Hicks

    Royal Berkshire Regiment

    Age: 22 Date of Death: 25/09/1915

    Son of William Mitchinson Hicks and Ellen Hicks, of Leamhurst, Ivy Park Rd., Sheffield. Born at Sheffield.

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    Lieutenant Basil Perrin Hicks (1893 – 25 September 1915)

    Basil Perrin Hicks was born in Sheffield, Yorkshire, to Ellen and William Hicks. He was educated at Rugby School before studying at Trinity College, Cambridge. By 1915, he had joined the 8th Battalion, Royal Berkshire Regiment.

    The unit first saw action later that year in France at the Battle of Loos, the largest British attack of 1915 and one that despite some territorial gains, failed to break the stalemate on the western front. Within a matter of weeks, the battalion was almost wiped out. Basil was killed in action on the first day of the battle and buried on the battlefield. His commanding officer said the regiment had “lost, not only a charming companion, but a very clever and most promising officer”, worshipped by those under him.

    His remains were later moved to Dud Corner Military Cemetery, Loos, while other memorials include an inscription at St John’s Church, Ranmoor, Sheffield and a memorial lectureship fund for the city’s university endowed by his father, to deal with aspects of the Great War. The most recent was given by in 2015 by Professor Sir Ian Kershaw.

  • Brancaster, Norfolk
    Stephen Hewitt

    Royal Field Artillery

    Age: 37 Date of Death: 30/08/1916

    Husband of Louisa Caroline Hewitt, of II, Charles St., Kimblesworth, Co. Durham.

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    Driver Stephen Hewitt (25 October 1878 – 30 August 1916)

    Stephen Hewitt was born in Halvergate, Norfolk, to Christina Elizabeth Tower Harper and Isaac Christmas Hewitt. In 1899, aged 20, he married Louisa Caroline Catt.

    By 1916, Hewitt had joined the Royal Field Artillery as a driver, trained in the management and use of horses. He served in the Salonika campaign as part of a multinational force in the Balkans fighting the Bulgarians and their allies. In the spring of that year, British and other troops advanced from the Greek port of the same name, despite facing the region’s harsh climate and being struck down by diseases such as malaria and dysentery.

    Another hazard in the hills were these men fought were packs of wolves. Stephen was out riding when he was attacked by such beasts, dying from his wounds.

  • Sunny Sands, Folkestone, Kent
    Wilfred Edward Salter Owen, M.c.

    Manchester Regiment

    Date of Death: 04/11/1918

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    Lieutenant Wilfred Edward Salter Owen, MC (18 March 1893 – 04/ November 1918)

    One of Britain’s most celebrated war poets, Wilfred Owen’s short career was directly inspired by the conflict – he composed nearly all his works from August 1917 to September 1918, many published posthumously. He first left for the front from Folkestone on December 29 1916, having written a letter in the Metropole Hotel the previous day. In the final hours before his final embarkation from the town in 1918, Owen swam in the sea and described the experience in a letter home.

    Owen was born in Oswestry, on the Welsh border of Shropshire, and became known as a studious scholar, including of poetry. Having failed to win a university scholarship, he became an unpaid assistant to an Oxfordshire vicar in return for tuition.

    At the parish, Owen became disillusioned with the church’s attitude to the poor and needy, a depth of feeling for others that informed his later writing. He returned home in 1913, seriously ill with a respiratory infection. After months of convalescence, Owen spent time in France as a tutor. He returned to England in September 1915 uncertain as to whether he should enlist. Later that year he finally joined the Artists’ Rifles before receiving a commission in the Manchester Regiment in June 1916.

    In December 1916, he left for France with the Lancashire Fusiliers, facing the horrors of mud, gas and shellfire that were to inform his verse. In March he was hospitalised for brain concussion and again between May and June due to severe headaches, eventually diagnosed as shell shock. Owen was sent to Craiglockhart War Hospital, Edinburgh, where he met Siegfried Sassoon, already established as a poet, who inspired Owen to continue writing.

    Owen returned to France in September 1918 and a month later was awarded the Military Cross for gallantry during an attack on a well-defended position that caused so many casualties among officers that he took command and held the line. He was killed in action in November during a battle to cross the Sambre-Oise canal at Ors, described as being “on a raft in the teeth of a murderous enemy fire” when he was shot dead one week before Armistice. His mother received the telegram informing her of his death on Armistice Day, as the church bells in Shrewsbury were ringing out in celebration.

    The suffering he endured and witnessed can still be felt today in his poems such as ‘Dulce et Decorum Est’, ‘The Sentry’ and ‘The Show’.

  • Lyme Regis, Dorset
    Kulbir Thapa

    3rd Queen Alexandra's Own Gurkha Rifles

    Date of Death: 03/10/1956

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    Rifleman Kulbir Thapa VC (15 December 1889 – 03 October 1956)

    Kulbir Thapa made history as the first Gurkha to win a Victoria Cross, the most prestigious British award for bravery.

    He was born in the village of Nigalpani, Palpa, Nepal, and in 1907 enlisted in the Indian Army as part of Queen Alexandra’s Own Gurkha Rifles, transferring to 2nd Battalion at the outbreak of war. On September 25 1915, during operations against German trenches south of Mauquissart, he found a badly wounded soldier of the 2nd Leicestershire Regiment behind the first German trench. Although wounded himself and urged by the English soldier to save his own skin, Kulbir stayed with him all day and night.

    Early the next morning, in misty conditions, he brought the soldier out through the German wire and having left him in a place of comparative safety, returned and brought back two wounded Gurkhas to the allied lines, one after the other. He then returned in broad daylight to bring back the British soldier, carrying him most of the way under enemy fire. Kulbir himself was admitted to hospital for his wounds and he rejoined his unit in Egypt in 1916. His medal is on display at the Gurkha Museum, Winchester, Hampshire, and in 2015 he was commemorated on a Royal Mail stamp.

  • East Looe, Cornwall
    Kenneth Walton Grigson

    Devonshire Regiment

    Age: 23 Date of Death: 20/07/1918

    Son of the Rev. Canon W. S. Grigson and Mrs. Grigson, late of Pelynt Vicarage, Looe, Cornwall.

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    Captain Kenneth Walton Grigson (29 June 1895 – 20/ July 1918)

    Much of what we know about Kenneth Walton Grigson comes from his youngest brother, Geoffrey, who became a poet in the period between the First and Second World Wars. Kenneth was born in Pelynt, Cornwall, to Mary and Reverend Canon William Grigson. As a second son with six brothers, he would have been expected to join the priesthood himself, until the outbreak of war intervened.

    Kenneth became a serjeant in the 7th Company, Reserve Battalion, Devonshire Regiment, later gaining the rank of captain. A younger brother, Lionel, joined the same regiment and was reported missing in France in May 1917, only one day after arriving at the front. Kenneth survived a year longer, but he was eventually killed in action in 1918, just a few months before Armistice. In his autobiography, The Crest on the Silver, Geoffrey remembers his brother fondly as a child, reminiscing about pushing him round the vicarage garden in a wheelbarrow, then later during the war returning for leave with an “extremely white face”.

  • Porthcurno, Cornwall
    Richard Charles Graves-sawle

    Coldstream Guards

    Age: 26 Date of Death: 02/11/1914

    Son of Rear-Admiral Sir Charles Graves-Sawle, 4th Bart, and Lady Graves-Sawle, of 60, Queen's Gate, London; husband of Muriel Heaton-Ellis (now Mrs. A. L. C. Cavendish).

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    Lieutenant Richard Charles Graves-Sawle (1888 – 02 November 14)

    Richard Charles Graves-Sawle was the only son of Lady Constance Mary and Rear Admiral Sir Charles John Graves-Sawle, a baronet, so Richard was heir to the family estate. Richard was born in Kensington, London then raised in Penrice House (now a care home) in Porthpean, St Austell, Cornwall. Richard trained at Sandhurst and in 1908 enlisted in the 2nd Battalion Coldstream Guards.

    On 6 August 1914 he married Muriel Heaton-Ellis, but six days later left for France. His diary from that year gives an insight into the hardships faced by soldiers on the western front. Richard survived some of the earliest engagements with the German army, including the retreat from Mons and the battles of Marne and the Aisne. He was killed near Ypres, Belgium, on 2 November 1914 by a sniper’s bullet to the head while standing in a communication trench. In 2014, students at the at the University of Exeter’s Penryn Campus serialised his diary on Twitter (@RCGravesSawle).

  • Saunton Sands, Devon
    Ralph George Griffiths Robson

    Royal Engineers

    Age: 26 Date of Death: 23/12/1914

    Son of Samuel and Ellen Frances Robson, of Bradiford House, Barnstaple, Devon.

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    Captain Ralph George Griffiths Cumine-Robson (13 August 1888 – 23 December 1914)

    Ralph Cumine-Robson was born in Chinsura, Bengal, India, to Ellen Frances Cumine and Samuel Robson, principal of the Prince of Wales College, Jammu (they later retired to Bradiford House, Barnstaple, Devon). Ralph was educated at Eton, where he excelled at the public school’s wall game, enjoying a reputation for fearlessness that carried on into his military career.

    After Eton, Ralph joined the Royal Military Academy, Woolwich, before in 1908 gaining a commission in the Royal Engineers and returning to India. At the outbreak of war, he volunteered for active service, joining the 3rd Company, 1st King George’s Own Sappers and Miners, attached to the Meerut Division, Indian Expeditionary Force, which quickly sailed from Bombay.

    Ralph was now serving on the western front as part of the Indian Corps of Sappers and Miners, a force noted in a dispatch for its “skill and resource” by Field Marshal Sir John French. Ralph, too, was mentioned in a dispatch. He had been promoted to captain on 18 December 1914, but was killed in action a few days later near Neuve Chapelle, France, and was buried at the Estaires Cemetery.

  • Weston-super-Mare, Somerset
    John Hay Maitland Hardyman

    Somerset Light Infantry

    Age: 23 Date of Death: 24/08/1918

    F.Z.S.S. Son of George Hardyman, M.B., F.R.C.S., and Eglantine Henrietta Keith Hardyman, of Perrymead Court, Bath.

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    Lieutenant Colonel John Hay Maitland Hardyman, D.S.O. M.C. (28 September 1894 – 24 August 1918)

    In May 1918, John Hardyman, aged only 23, became the youngest lieutenant colonel in the British Army. He was born in Bath to Eglantine Henrietta Keith and George Hardyman, with three brothers and two sisters. In December 1914, he was accepted for officer training with the Royal Flying Corps (forerunner of the RAF) at Brooklands, Surrey, though eventually served with the Somerset Light Infantry.

    He was awarded the Distinguished Service Order for conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty. After the enemy had penetrated allied lines, John went forward through a heavy barrage to rally the troops and repel repeated enemy attacks over two days and three nights. He encouraged them through “coolness and absolute disregard of personal danger” to maintain a tactically important position. He was killed in action at Bienvillers, France, and buried in the military cemetery there, with a memorial raised for him at St Mary’s churchyard, Bathwick, Bath.

  • Formby, Merseyside
    John Basil Armitage

    Cheshire Regiment

    Age: 41 Date of Death: 17/05/1917

    Son of William and Margaret Armitage (nee Mills); husband of Kathleen Armitage, of Northlea, Altrincham, Cheshire.

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    Captain John Basil Armitage (28 May 1876 –17 May 1917)

    John Armitage was born in Altrincham, Cheshire, eldest son of William, a justice of the peace, and Margaret Petrie Armitage. He was a boarder at Sedbergh School, Yorkshire, returning to work for his uncle, an architect and mayor of Altrincham. In 1903 he married Alice Kathleen O’Hanlan and set up home in Dunham Massey and later Bowden, Cheshire, with one son and two daughters.

    A local newspaper reported that he enlisted in January 1915, training recruits until October 1916, when John was drafted into the 5th Battalion (Earl of Chester’s), Cheshire Regiment at Condé-Folie near the Somme. The unit’s companies were drawn from the city of Chester and towns across the county including his hometown, Knutsford, Sale, Cheadle and Runcorn.

    John arrived during the final engagements that compromised the battle of the Somme, which the regiment were involved in from July until the attacks ground to a halt in the autumn. The next spring, his unit saw action during the German retreat to the Hindenburg Line and the battle of Arras, where John met his end, reportedly from what was described in local news as a “stray” shell. He is buried at Tilloy British Cemetery, Tilloy-Les-Mofflaines, France.

  • Blackpool, Lancashire
    John Edward Arkwright

    King's Own (Royal Lancaster Regiment)

    Date of Death: 26/08/1914

    Husband of Isabel Arkwright, of 24, West Rd., Lancaster.

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    Lance Corporal John Edward Arkwright (08 September 1890 – 26 August 1914)

    John Arkwright was one of the first Lancastrians killed during the war. He was born in Lancaster and from 1906 to October 1913 he was a member of the 1st Battalion, King’s Own Royal Lancaster Regiment. From the available records, he then appeared to join the Lancashire Constabulary and in April of the following year married Isabella Beaty, living at West Road, then Clarence Street, Lancaster.

    At the outbreak of war, John was a lance corporal with his unit stationed in Dover and quickly mobilised, arriving in France on 23 August 1914. Three days later, the regiment saw bitter action at Haucourt, during the battle of Le Cateau, a vital rearguard action following the Battle of Mons, itself the first major action the British Expeditionary Force (BEF) saw in France. Although the Germans were victorious, the battle allowed the bulk of the BEF to fall back to Saint Quentin. The regiment suffered many casualties and men taken prisoner. John himself was killed in action.

  • Perranporth, Cornwall
    Archie Jewell

    Age: 28 Date of Death: 17/04/1917

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    Archie Jewell (04 December 1888 – 17 April 1917)

    Archibald ‘Archie’ Jewell survived the sinking of the Titanic, only to perish in the sinking of a hospital ship in 1917. He was born at 34 King Street, Bude, Cornwall, the son of John – also a sailor – and Elizabeth Jewell, the youngest brother of Clara, John Henry, Ernest W., Albert Richard, Elizabeth and Orlando. His mother died in childbirth on 9 April 1891.

    He first went to sea aged around 15 and married Bessie Heard, also a Bude native, living with her in Southampton, Hampshire. He signed on with the Titanic in 1912 as a lookout and was in his berth when the liner struck an iceberg and was one of the first people to evacuate the ship in lifeboats. Members of Archie’s family believe he also survived the sinking of Titanic’s sister ship Britannic in 1916, used as a hospital ship until she hit a mine.

    Records show that Archie had left the White Star line to work as an able seaman on the passenger steamship SS Donegal, itself requisitioned as a hospital ship during the war. The craft survived one encounter with a German U-boat on 1 March 1917, but the next month was torpedoed in the English Channel. Archie died along with 10 other crew and 29 wounded servicemen.

  • Porthmeor, Cornwall
    Captain Edward 'Teddy' Hain

    Age: 28 Date of Death: 11/11/1915

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    Captain Edward ‘Teddy’ Hain(15 August 1887 –11 November 1915)

    Edward Hain was the son and heir of Lady Catherine and Sir Edward Hain, a prosperous Cornish shipping and land owner. Edward was born in St Ives, living in Treloyhan Manor  (nowa hotel) overlooking Carbis Bay. He was head of his house at Winchester College, Hampshire, and went up to New College, Oxford, in 1906.

    In 1912, while working for his father, Edward joined the Cornish Squadron of the 1st Devon Yeomanry and the next year married Judith Wogan-Browne of Naas, Kildare. At the outbreak of war, he rejoined his regiment and was promoted to captain a fortnight later.

    In 1915, the unit was sent to the Dardanelles to fight in the Gallipoli campaign. Captain Hain fell in action at Suvla Bay when a shell hit his dug-out. He was buried at Hill 10 Cemetery, Gallipoli. News of his son\s death hit Sir Edward hard and he passed away two years later. In 1920, the Edward Hain Memorial Cottage Hospital (now the Edward Hain Community Hospital)was founded in the young soldier’s honour at Albany Terrace, St Ives.

  • Weymouth, Dorset
    Stanley Robert McDougall

    Age: 78 Date of Death: 07/07/1968

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    Sergeant Stanley Robert McDougall V.C. (23 July 1890 –07 July 1968)

    Stanley McDougall was born in Tasmania to Susannah and John McDougall. He became a blacksmith, but enlisted in August 1915, joining the 47thInfantry Battalion, Australian Imperial Force. Sent to the western front, he fought at Pozières, Messines and Broodseinde. In March 1918 at Dernancourt, Sergeant McDougall repulsed a German attack that had breached the allied lines. Single-handed, he charged the enemy’s second wave withrifle and bayonet, killing seven and capturing a machine-gun that he turned on the rest, causing more casualties and routing the advance.

    Then he fired on those that had already reached the allied trenches, until his ammunition ran out, when he seized a bayonet and killed three more men and an enemy officer. He then used a Lewis gun on the enemy, killing others and enabling his comrades to capture 33 prisoners.

    Eight days later, at the same place, this non-commissioned officer won the Military Medal for taking over his platoon when its commander was killed. After the war became an officer with the Tasmanian Forestry Department, later performing outstanding work fighting bushfires as inspector-in-charge of forests in north-east Tasmania. He died at Scottsdale in 1968.

  • Scapa Beach, Orkney
    Robert William Taylor

    Age: 24 Date of Death: 24/10/1917

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    Lieutenant Robert William Taylor M.C. (14 September 1893 – 24 October 1917)

    Robert William Taylor was born at Mounthoolie, Flotta, only son of Robert and Jane Taylor (née Sutherland). He joined the National Bank of Scotland before enlisting in Kirkwall on 6 July 1915. He travelled to Glasgow to join No 6 Depot, Royal Field Artillery as a gunner and was later posted to 4th Battery, 1 B Reserve Brigade, at Ipswich.

    After swift promotions to bombardier then lance corporal, Robert’s commanding officer (C.O.) recommended him for a commission. He was appointed second lieutenant in the Special Reserve on 1 October 1915. Four months later, Robert joined D Battery, 83rd Brigade, RFA in the 18th (Eastern Division). On the first day of the Battle of the Somme, 1 July, the division attacked at Montauban, one of the few British formations to take all its objectives, at the cost of 3115 casualties.

    In 1917, Robert earned the Military Cross as a forward observation officer directing fire during the battle of Passchendaele for, his C.O. later reported, “a rare exhibition of tenacity and skill in sending back information of the highest value”. He was promoted to full lieutenant before his division returned to the front at Poelcapelle. He was seriously wounded by German artillery fire and died of his wounds.

    His C.O. was greatly saddened by his death and recorded a touching tribute published in The Scotsman on 19 November 1917, describing Robert as “a highly popular and efficient young officer, who had been through nearly two years of the hardest fighting” and “one of the most unselfish and cheerful fellows”. Robert is buried in Dozinghem Military Cemetery, Poperinge, Belgium. He is also commemorated on Stromness War Memorial and in Flotta churchyard. His Military Cross is in the Orkney Museum, Tankerness House, Kirkwall.