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.
Original Birth certificate scanned and reproduced by permission of JN
Scanned and reproduced by kind permission of J N
Further background on Sydney Gunnell can be found on this blog’s previous post here, and the detailed post by Julie Muirhead here.
Elizabeth Day Purver‘s heart went out to her brother George, and his wife Sarah Ann (née Smith). His Frederick, the eldest of their three sons, had been summoned by the army and was now on his way to the front with his battalion of the Hampshire Regiment.
She was very fond of her nephew, although he was another one putting romantic notions of regimental life into her own little Frederick, whom she sincerely hoped would be too young to be embroiled in this war, at least.
She was also moderately fond of her sister-in-law, although she came from an old Hurstbourne Tarrant family, the neighbouring village. This was only three miles away, but the two villages had always regarded each other with some suspicion. It was rumoured that the vicar of the day in Hurstbourne Tarrant had once gone round the bend, and the villagers had had an earnest discussion about whether the situation was so bad that it merited walking to St Mary Bourne every Sunday – which would perforce involve worshipping ‘amid the alien corn’. Though one or two had made the weekly pilgrimage, most seem to have decided that worship led by a mad vicar was preferable to being surrounded by the ‘queer folk’ of Stoke and Bourne.
In the case of the Smiths, it was a little more complicated as Sarah Ann’s grandfather, William Smith, had married a Sarah Holdway and his father, Thomas, in turn had married another Sarah Holdway. And the Holdways were definitely a St Mary Bourne family. A few had strayed into Hurstbourne Tarrant, but none had achieved the worldly success of the Bourne Holdways – they had always remained the poor relations, even though there had been Holdways in Hurstbourne since James, born in 1582, so you would think they had plenty of time to establish themselves…of course it was always possible that it was the other way round, the Hurstbourne Holdways could have colonised St Mary Bourne. Hmmm, not sure what she thought of that idea. And she must stop day-dreaming and get on with the practicalities of her life…
A note on sources
These are sparse! We do not have access to Frederick George Day’s service records, unfortunately, other than his medal card, which gives his regimental service number (7422) and the date he arrived at the front, of which more later.
It was a rather sad household that sat down to tea that evening in Lower Rank. Ann Gibbons Pike had just seen her two middle sons off to war – again. Edwin and James were reservists thanks to their previous service, so of course they were the first to be called up as soon as this new war in Europe had started. They had both gone in Eli Goodyear’s cart to Andover station with the others, on their way to the depot in Winchester and then to the front. Edward had been in the 1st Battalion for ten years now, and James had joined him, having been in the 2nd Battalion and the Bedfordshires. What a handsome couple of lads they were, weren’t they, even allowing for a mother’s prejudice?
She had given each boy a prayer book with some comforting hymns at the end of the book when they had signed up. It was a comfort to her at least to think this might be of help to them in all the dangers and troubles that they would see. Oh, drat! She had promised herself she would not cry.
Ann presumed that her eldest two children, now in London, would be exempt. Sydney was a signalman on the railway, and the Government could hardly send all of them off to war or they would have all the trains in England running into each other. And Mabel’s husband was already forty-six years old – Ann had always tried to steer her away from ‘the older man’, but her daughter’s foibles had now turned into a blessing.
Twenty years ago, she and Albert had lived under one roof with their five children and now only she and young Herbert remained. How did the saying go? ‘My son is my son till he finds him a wife, but my daughter is my daughter for the rest of her life.’ Well, it hadn’t worked out like that exactly – she hardly ever saw Mabel, and had only seen her little grand-daughter Edith once, soon after she was born, when Mabel and Alfred came down by train to see her (and Mabel’s friends).
But Herbert had not yet found himself a wife, and might never do so. So they would just have to keep each other company in the days and nights to follow.
A note on sources:
1. The photograph of James Pike’s bible is shared with the History Group by his family who now live in the house in the Egbury Road that he did.
courtesy of Andover Advertiser, via Mrs Spankie’s Scrapbook
What a day!
As a reservist, Walter Sims had been among the first to be recalled to the colours. That sounds rather noble, but in fact he and the four others from the village had piled into Eli Goodyear‘s waggon pretty unceremoniously, without time to say much of a proper goodbye, as he had volunteered to drive them to Andover railway station. But of course their friends had waved and cheered, and made a great fuss of them.
As it happens, he had managed to say goodbye to his father, also Walter but called ‘Wallie’ for short. He had been ill with bronchitis for months, and at the good age of 86, had gone to meet his Maker last Sunday. After yesterday’s news of war, Walter had been able to bring forward his burial to early this morning so as to be sure of being able to attend and pay his final respects.
And, scarcely having had time to gather his thoughts, this afternoon he was sitting in a waggon with four other chums from the village, on their way to the battalion depot in Winchester to be licked into shape for a couple of weeks: then they would be off to the front. Only yesterday, he had been expecting to spend this week out in the fields, helping with the last of the harvest. And he had been looking forward to supper at The Plough Inn afterwards, paid for by the farmer!
Walter was of course sad at his father’s death, but in truth he had seen little of him in recent years. When he had gone off to the Boer War 1 in his twenties, his parents had remained together with his younger brother Sidney. But by the time he returned, his father had moved out to live with Sidney at a farm in Andover Down, about six miles away, and his mother had decided to stay in the centre of St Mary Bourne. Walter had not yet married, and had naturally stayed with his mother, and now it was her that he was worried about. He could help her a bit financially now that he was back in the army, but he would never forget the look on her face as she hugged him farewell, and he knew she had been wondering if she would ever see him again. Perhaps she would take his father’s place in Sidney’s home in Andover Down, though he now had a wife, and he was not sure how wife and mother might get on under the same roof. But all her friends were in the village. Maybe she might persuade Sidney to come back to St Mary Bourne. But he had begun to carve out a future for himself there, and would not want to return. And so it went on, turbulent thought succeeding anxious worry. It was worse that there was nothing that he could do, not for the foreseeable future.
Walter shut his eyes, and tried to blank out, more or less successfully, all that was going on around him. That was one thing he had learnt from the last time, how to create a little world of your own into which you could retreat from time to time, during the long periods of waiting, waiting…
A note on sources
1 No documentary evidence has yet been found of Walter’s service in the Boer War (partly, at least, because Walter Sims was a common name at the time). However, he is said by the Andover Advertiser to have served six years in South Africa, there is no trace of him in the 1901 UK census, and he would not have been called up at this early stage if he had not already seen military service.
2 We know from the war diaries of the 1st Battalion of the Hampshire Regiment that they did not embark from Southampton for Le Havre until 22 August, two weeks three days later. Presumably the intervening time was necessary to assemble the reservists, re-train and re-equip them – it would have more than a decade since most of them had seen active service.
I am indebted to Twitter for this reference to James Daly’s blog, and this post:
When war was declared the 1st Battalion of the Hampshire Regiment was part of the 11th Brigade, in the British Army’s 4th Division. They were originally based in the garrison town of Colchester, but moved to Harrow. It was earmarked to embark for Europe as part of the British Expeditionary Force as soon as war broke out. Later in the war at Ypres and the Somme the Territorial and Kitchener Battalions bore the brunt of the fighting, but in 1914 the BEF comprised regular, pre-war Soldiers.
The 1st Battalion of the Hampshire Regiment left Harrow at 12.20am on 22 August 1914, bound for Southampton. At 7am half of the Battalion and the Headquarters embarked on the Breamaer Castle, and the other half on the Castrian. At this point, most of the men were no doubt hoping that the war would be over by Christmas.