Bertie George King Is Killed At Neuve Chapelle: by Win Bourne

bertie 001

Killed in Action  aged 27 at Neuve Chapelle.
Listed on Panel 44 at La Touret Memorial, France

Bertie was born in 1890, the only son of Alfred G King and his wife Elizabeth (known as Kate) nee Aslett. They had a daughter Dorothy who was just a year old when Bertie made his appearance. The family lived in Newbury Street, Whitchurch and his Dad was a bricklayer. Kate gave birth to two more   daughters, Ethel in 1892 and Alice Daisy in 1893.

Sadly, within the following few years, baby Ethel perished and then both parents passed away, so the three children were separated and raised by various family members in Whitchurch.

Eleven-year-old Bertie lived with his paternal grandmother of 72, Emma King (who was a laundress), and his Uncle John, a bricklayer’s labourer, in Newbury Street. Both 13-year-old Dorothy (known as Dolly) and sister Alice Daisy (aged 7) were looked after by their maternal grandparents, George and Mary Aslett in London Street, along with their cousin Albert Edward Aslett, who was also 7 years old. So the siblings at least remained within easy walking distance of each other.

Ern + Emily King (RHS) at cress beds

Ernest and Emily King at watercress beds in 1920s, from SMB history CD

Granddad George worked on the watercress beds in what came to be a family tradition.As they grew up, the girls continued to live and work in Whitchurch, while Bertie began working at the watercress beds in Hurstbourne Priors, lodging with the Redman family in rooms, part of the house called Crystal Abbey, on the opposite side of the road in the 1911 census. (Was the name a joking reference to the Crystal Palace?)

Crystal Abbey

Extract from 1936 sale map of part of the Portsmouth Estate. Courtesy Hampshire Record Office 15M84/3/1/4/6

At the onset of war Bertie went to Winchester where he enlisted as a rifleman in the 2nd Battalion. Rifle Brigade. His regiment took part in the Battle of Neuve Chapelle which began on the 10th March 1915 when he sustained fatal injuries.

His sisters looked in disbelief at the cold facts of his listed possessions, the last bit of paper summoning up the way officialdom looked at him:

Personal effects Bertie George King

Sydney Gunnell Killed in Action 23 November 1914

 

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Andover Advertiser 11 December 1914 courtesy of http://julz-ancestralresearch.me.uk/?p=801

Capture

Locality:
Comines-Warneton, Hainaut, Belgium
Identified Casualties:
253

Historical Information

Lancashire Cottage Cemetery was begun by the 1st East Lancashire (who have 84 graves in it) and the 1st Hampshire (who have 56) in November 1914. It was used as a front line cemetery until March 1916 and occasionally later. The cemetery was in German hands from 10 April to 29 September 1918 and they made a few burials in it during that spring and summer. The cemetery was designed by Charles Holden.

sidney gunnell birth cert 001

Original Birth certificate scanned and reproduced by permission of JN

sidney gunnell in memoriam poster 2 001

Scanned and reproduced by kind permission of J N


Note

Further background on Sydney Gunnell can be found on this blog’s previous post here, and the detailed post by Julie Muirhead here.

Frederick George Day Killed in Action 2 November 1914

001 (5) - Copy

leanne bell war memorial pto in booklet

Village War Memorial courtesy of Leanne Bell

DAY_FREDERICKFrederick George Day is officially recorded as having been killed on this date, but his family (and the village) were not informed until December. Details will be covered in a later post.