- Grenadier Guards during the Great War -
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- 1st Battalion, Grenadier Guards
- 1st Provisional Battalion, Grenadier Guards
- 2nd Battalion, Grenadier Guards
- 3rd Battalion, Grenadier Guards
- 4th Battalion, Grenadier Guards
- 5th Battalion, Grenadier Guards
3rd Battalion Grenadier Guards were was stationed in London in 1914. They proceeded to France on the 27th of July 1915, landing at Le Havre and joined 2nd Guards Brigade, Guards Division. They saw action in the The Battle of Loos, The Battles of the Somme, German retreat to the Hindenburg Line, The Third Battles of Ypres, The Battle of Cambrai and in 1918 on the Somme, the Hindenburg Line. After the armistice they moved to the Rhine and returned to England in 1919.
4th Aug 1914 In France
5th Aug 1914
5th Aug 1914 In France
5th Aug 1914 In France
6th Aug 1914 Training
8th Aug 1914 Cavalry Arrives
12th Aug 1914 Training
12th Aug 1914 Review
19th Aug 1914 Reorganisation
22nd Aug 1914 At Strength
23rd Aug 1914 Reorganisation
25th Aug 1914 Under Attack
25th Aug 1914 Fierce Fighting
26th Aug 1914 Regimental Dinner
31st Aug 1914 Training
1st Sep 1914 In Enemy Hands
7th Oct 1914 1st Grenadier Guards proceed overseas 1st Battalion Grenadier Guards land at Zebrugge, crossing from Southampton.
16th Oct 1914 Not Very Safe
24th Oct 1914 Counter Attack
25th Oct 1914 A Little War News
27th Oct 1914 Hard Fighting
27th Oct 1914 Letters Welcome
29th Oct 1914 2nd Grenadier Guards in action 2nd Grenadier Guards are in action in and around Gheluvelt.
1st Nov 1914 Holding the Line
1st Nov 1914 In the Line
7th Nov 1914 Under Shellfire
25th Nov 1914 Funeral
30th Nov 1914 A Narrow Escape
30th Nov 1914 Admitted to Hospital
16th Dec 1914 Lecture
23rd Dec 1914 Reliefs
24th Dec 1914 Out of the Trenches
11th Jan 1915 News from the Front
20th Feb 1915 Brutal Fighting Recalled
27th Apr 1915 Instruction
18th May 1915 1st Bn Herts attacking Moved into trenches further east. The Irish Guards attacked at 4.30pm, No.1 Coy in close support of Irish Guards. No.4 Coy in support of Grenadier Guards who also attacked. No.1 Coy and 1 platoon of No.3 Coy and 50 men of No.3 Coy reinforced Irish Guards and entrenched themselves. The Bn took over the Irish Guards from the line about 9pm and dug in. No.2 & 4 Coys in front line, No.3 Coy less 1 platoon in second line, No.1 Coy plus 1 platoon and No.3 Coy third line.War Diary of the 1st Battalion Hertfordshire Regiment
12th Jun 1915 Atrocities Recalled
21st June 1915 1st Bn Herts relieve Grenadier Guards The Battalion relieved the 2nd Bn Grenadier Guards about 2 miles NE of Vermelles.War Diary of the 1st Battalion Hertfordshire Regiment
23rd June 1915 1st Bn Herts men mentioned in dispatches The Battalion was relieved by the 2nd Bn Grenadier Guards and moved into billets at Sailly Le Bourse. The following Officers, NCOs and men appeared in the Commander in Chief's dispatched dated 31-5-1915: Lieut. Colonel, The Viscount Hampden, Major H.P. Croft, MP, Major F. Page, Captain A.G. Clark, Captain & Adjutant, the Honourable N. Gathorne-Hardy (Rifle Brigade), Captain P.E. longmore, Captain L.F. Smeathman, Captain G.E. Whitfield, No.14 Sgt J. Barber, 2108 Acting CQMS F. Rayment, 2550 Sgt A.E Sandell, 132 Sgt R. Shirtcliffe, 2662 L/Cpl R.A. Gough, 2283 Pte. Curtis.War Diary of the 1st Battalion Hertfordshire Regiment
25th June 1915 1st Bn Herts relieved Grenadier Guards The 1st Herts Btn again relieved the 2nd Btn Grenadier Guards in trenches.War Diary of the 1st Battalion Hertfordshire Regiment
3rd Aug 1915 All in the Pink
27th Sep 1915 Through the Ruins
30th Sep 1915 In the Trenches
1st October 1915 Reliefs Completed
1st Oct 1915 On the March
2nd Oct 1915 Demise of the Sniper
2nd October 1915 Resting
2nd Oct 1915 Training
2nd Oct 1915 Souvenirs
3rd October 1915 Artillery Active
4th October 1915 Reliefs
8th Oct 1915 Bombing All Night
8th October 1915 Enemy Attack
9th Oct 1915 Shelling
11th Oct 1915 Working Parties
12th Oct 1915 Reliefs
13th Oct 1915 In Reserve
15th Oct 1915 1st Grenadiers into the Line
15th Oct 1915 Luck of the Devil
15th Oct 1915 In the Trenches
16th Oct 1915 In the Trenches
17th Oct 1915 Reliefs Completed
20th Oct 1915 Reliefs
21st Oct 1915 Trench Work
22nd Oct 1915 Trench Work
23rd Oct 1915 Reliefs
24th Oct 1915 At Rest
25th Oct 1915 On the Move
27th Oct 1915 Digging
28th Oct 1915 On the March
29th Oct 1915 Training
30th Oct 1915 Training
31st Oct 1915 Training
8th Nov 1915 On the March
14th Nov 1915 Quiet
16th Nov 1915 Into Billets
18th Nov 1915 Into the Trenches
20th Nov 1915 Resting
22nd Nov 1915 On the Move
25th Nov 1915 On the Move
27th Nov 1915 Into the Trenches
30th Nov 1915 In Support
1st Dec 1915 At Rest
2nd Dec 1915 In the Trenches
4th Dec 1915 In Billets
5th Dec 1915 Into the Trenches
6th Dec 1915 Trench Work
7th Dec 1915 Reliefs
14th Dec 1915 Reliefs
16th Dec 1915 Reliefs
24th Dec 1915 In the Trenches
25th Dec 1915 Relief Completed
25th Dec 1915 Beer and Pudding
26th Dec 1915 Reliefs
31st Dec 1915 Training
1st Jan 1916 Relief
3rd Jan 1916 Reliefs
4th Jan 1916 Shelters
5th Jan 1916 Relief
8th Jan 1916 Gas
12th Jan 1916 Operations
14th Jan 1916 On the March
18th Jan 1916 Training
25th Jan 1916 Reliefs
12th Sep 1915 Exhaustion
15th Sep 1916 Tanks in Action
16th Sep 1916 Attack Made
16th Sep 1916 Attack made
20th Sep 1916 Preparing for Attack
22nd Sep 1916 Attack Made
7th Oct 1916 Guards Draft
12th Oct 1917 Attack Made
17th Sep 1917 Prisoner Returns
14th Oct 1917 2nd Grenadiers in Action
25th Oct 1917 In the Wood
11th Nov 1917 On the March
12th Nov 1917 On the March
13th Nov 1917 On the March
17th Nov 1917 On the March
18th Nov 1917 On the March
19th Nov 1917 On the March
25th Nov 1917 Under Shellfire
30th Nov 1917 Enemy Advance
1st Dec 1917 In Action
If you can provide any additional information, please add it here.
Want to know more about Grenadier Guards ?
There are:14741 pages and articles tagged Grenadier Guards available in our Library
Those known to have served with
during the Great War 1914-1918.
- Appleton Frederick William Henry. Pte. 2nd Btn.
- Barber Edward. Pte. 1st Btn. (d.12th March 1915)
- Bowker Herbert Henry. Gdsmn. 3rd Btn.
- Bradon John. Grdsm. 2nd Btn. (d.12th Oct 1917 )
- Brain Thomas Henry. Sgt. 1st Btn. (d.24 Sep 1916)
- Brearley George. 2nd Btn.
- Brooks Walter Ainger. Pte. (d.31st July 1917)
- Cecil William Amherst . Capt 2nd Bn. (d.16th Sep 1914)
- Cholmeley Montague Aubrey Rowley. Capt. 4th Btn. (d.24th Dec 1914)
- Clarke Noah. Gdsm. 3rd Btn. (d.18 Oct 1918)
- Clarke Noah. Pte. 3rd Btn. (d.18 Oct 1918)
- Cockerill Alfred. Pte. 4th Battalion
- Corbin Louis. L/Cpl. 3rd Btn. (d.27th Nov 1917)
- Cowens John Thomas. Pte. 4th Btn (d.6th Jul 1916)
- Crundwell George. Pte. 2nd Battalion (d.25th Sep 1916)
- Cunliffe Thomas. Pte. 2nd Btn. (d.23rd Oct 1915)
- Daniels Daniel. Guardsman. 2nd Batt. D Coy, (d.1st Sep 1914)
- Dooley Joseph. Pte 2nd Btn.
- Drayton Percey Horace. Gdsm. 2nd Btn. (d.21st Dec 1915)
- Dungate Walter John. Cpl. 1st Btn. (d.24th Aug 1918)
- Eaglefield . Drmr.
- Fletcher Samuel Edwards. Pte. 4th Btn. (d.17th April 1918)
- Fletcher Samuel E.. 4th Btn. (d.17th Apr 1918)
- Gort John. Gnl.
- Green Thomas James. L/Sgt. 2nd Btn. (d.24th Dec 1914)
- Hamilton Frank Sherrat. L/Cpl. 3rd Btn. (d.24th July 1917)
- Handford James George. Pte. 1st Btn. (d.20th Dec 1916)
- Hatton Christopher Geoffrey. Sgt. 2nd Battalion (d.6th Jan 1918)
- Holmes William Edgar. Pte. 2nd Btn. (d.9th Oct 1918)
- Leatham John. Pte. 2nd Btn (d.12th March 1915)
- Leggott Robert Henry. Pte. 4th Battalion (d.25th September 1916)
- Liddle Samuel. Pte. 1st Battalion
- Merrilees Edward George. L/Cpl. 1st Btn. (d.14th Sep 1916)
- Mills Lees. L/Cpl. 4th Btn. (d.23rd Mar 1918)
- Moore Frank. Pte 1st Bn (d.25th Sep 1916)
- Moulson Walter Henry. Gdsm. 2nd Btn. (d.16th Sep 1914)
- Paton George Henry Tatham. Cpt. 4th Btn. (d.1st Dec 1917)
- Pryce Thomas Tannatt. Capt. 4th Btn. (d.13th Apr 1918)
- Railton William. Pte. (d.2nd Sep 1917)
- Rhodes John Harold. Sgt. 3rd Btn. (d.27th Nov 1917)
- Richardson Samuel. Pte. 4th Btn. (d.28th April 1918)
- Richardson Samuel. Pte. 4th Btn. (d.28th April 1918)
- Rymer Robert George. Sgt. 4th Btn. (d.6th July 1916)
- Scripps Arthur. Pte. 3rd Btn. (d.3rd Nov 1918)
- Shiner William Albert. Gdsm. 4th Battalion (d.2nd Dec 1917)
- Shortland Arthur Edwin. Gdsmn.
- Simpson Josiah. Pte. 2nd Battalion
- Smith Charles Henry. Pte. 1st Battalion (d.22nd Nov 1917)
- Steed George S.. Pte. 1st Battalion (d.21st Oct 1918)
- Stockley Richard. L/Cpl. 2nd Btn. (d.25th Sep 1916)
- Trull Charles Henry. Pte. 1st Battalion (d.17th Oct 1915)
- Underwood David. Pte. (d.29th Sep 1916)
- Whappshott John William. Pte. 2nd Btn.
- Wood Albert Allan. L/Sgt. 1st Btn. (d.26th Oct 1914)
- Yapp James. Grdsmn. 3rd Btn. (d.27th Nov 1917)
- Young William Martin. Pte. 1st Btn. (d.27th September 1918)
- Zaleski Joseph. Pte. 2nd Btn.
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Pte. Josiah Simpson 2nd Battalion Grenadiers GuardsJosiah Simpson married my Grandmother in the mid 1950's after the death of my Natural Grandfather. Jo as he was always known to the family (except by me as a 6 year old boy, I called him Uncle Jo), had been a professional soldier who joined the 2nd Battalion Grenadier Guards in 1909. Jo passed away soon after marrying my maternal Grandmother and whenever I visited with my Mother I would try and draw Uncle Jo out about his Great War experiences, as this was endlessly fascinating to a young boy as you can imagine! Like many old soldiers Jo was very reticent about his experiences and I was not old enough to understand how to ask the right questions, and now of course it is far too late. I actually learnt more about Jo's war experiences from my Grandmother who told me amongst other things of the nightmares he still suffered from. She also told me that he had been wounded in action three times (discharged with a severe head injury involving delicate surgery and the fitting of a stainless steel plate in his skull). She also said that Jo had been mentioned in despatches and had received a letter of thanks from the King of which he was immense proud.
I have been able to glean quite a bit of his history, but have now reached a blank, and in the hope that anyone might be able to help me I will tell you what I know: Jo was born in sometime in 1888 and enlisted in the 2nd Battalion Grenadier Guards 25th February 1909 (aged 21) his army Service Number was 14275. At that time the Guards' regiments recruited men for three years with the colours and nine years on the reserve to be recalled at the outbreak of a general war. So I imagine that Jo would have transferred to the reserve around early 1912. In August 1914 he would presumably have been recalled to the colours at the age of 24 and there is a well known photograph taken outside Wellington Barracks in 1914 showing a queuing line of Grenadier Guard reservists reporting for duty with the colours.
I believe that I can recognise Uncle Jo in that photograph about halfway along the line of queuing Grenadier reservists. Jo was very tall and stood out in any group of which he was part. Even in later life he never lost his soldierly bearing, you would instantly recognise the old soldier from his bearing and dignity.
So much for the facts as I know them, what follows now is pure conjecture on my part. Consulting the excellent book 'Fifteen Rounds A Minute' edited from the diaries of Major M A Jeffreys and others by J.M. Craster, I learned that Major Jeffrey’s (acting C/O 2nd Battalion GG) diary entry for Sunday 19th September 1914 records a draft arriving from England comprising the new C/O Colonel Wilfred Smith and several other officers and men during the First Battle of Aisne. This fits rather well with Jo's medal sheet qualifying date of 17th September 1914, allowing for a couple of days to travel from Havre. I also read from the same source that the 2nd Battalion's MG Officer (in command of the battalion's two MGs) Captain William Amherst Cecil M.C. M.I.D had been killed in action 16 September 1914 and other casualties in the MG section had occurred on the same date. I now believe that Jo on arrival in the draft led by his C/O was assigned to one of the two M/G sections to make up the complement and therefore his Company Commander was 'Stag' Cecil's replacement who was 2nd Lieut. Carleton Wyndham Tufnell who had taken over command of the two guns on the death of Cecil.
Now Jo told me a tale in which his Company Commander was shot in the head and through the eye of the binoculars he was using to reconnoitre the German positions from a forward position, and in the same moment Jo himself was wounded for the first time. Believing the officer to be still alive and whilst under fire Jo dragged his body back to their own positions where he discovered that the officer had been instantly killed. If this officer was Tufnell then this must have been on November 6th 1914 as this is the date he was KIA. I have read that Lieut. Tufnell was shot during a reconnaissance looking for a good position for the M/Gs. I would have expected this officer would have carried and used binoculars whilst so engaged.
Referring again to 'Fifteen Rounds a Minute' I find the following "Wilfred sent Congleton and his platoon of No 3 and Tufnell with his machine-gun section with orders to act against the flank of the Germans pushing through the gap. Congleton and his platoon went forward with the cavalry, but poor Tufnell was shot through the throat and died soon afterwards. He was a first rate officer and is a great loss. At the first alarm I had posted Tufnell with one machine gun on the Brown Road to guard a ride through the wood, across which the Germans would have had to come to get behind my line of trenches. I also sent Congleton with one platoon to stop the Germans getting through “the gap” on my right rear. For some reason, that I have never been able to get an explanation of, Tufnell took his machine-gun with Congleton's platoon. I believe the machine-gun had one good target, but Tufnell was unfortunately hit at this time and I never did find out exactly what did occur." Note that the account has poor Tufnell shot through the throat and not as Jo describes through the eye, so maybe my conjecture falls down at this point - maybe.
It does seem clear that Jo served for nearly 3 years from 17th September 1914 when he arrives in France until 6th July 1917 when he was discharged and awarded the silver war badge, which incidentally he wore in his jacket lapel every day until he died in the mid 1950's. I imagine that when the the 1st Gds Bde MG Coy was formed between 1st September and 19th September, 1915, Jo would have transferred to it and served consequently in actions that the 2nd Battalion were engaged in from September 1914 (Battle of the Aisne) until some time after the battle of Messines now with the 4th Battalion Guards Machine Gun Company. If you have borne with this long winded story, for which I apologise, I now come to the mystery....
01) Did Josiah Simpson get a Mention in Despatches? My Grandmother certainly told me had, together with a letter from the King. Why is this not on his medal sheet if he was in fact awarded a MID. I should have thought nearly 3 years in the front line, wounded in action three times (the latter seriously), recovering an officer's body under fire whilst wounded himself should have merited a bit more that the the three 'gongs' that everyone else received.
02) What has happened to Jo's medals (he had a daughter Edna and a Grandson Gerald, both long deceased) maybe they were passed down, but do you think we could still trace them? Anything you can help with I will be most grateful.David Eades
Pte. William Martin Young 1st Btn. Grenadier Guards (d.27th September 1918)William Young died on the 27th of September 1918 and is buried in the Sanders Keep Military Cemetery in France. He was the son of Fanny and the late Edward Martin Young. Husband of Charlotte Fanny Young, and father of three children, Kathleen, William, and Jessies flynn
Sgt. John Harold Rhodes VC. DCM and bar 3rd Btn. Grenadier Guards (d.27th Nov 1917)John Rhodes died on 27th November 1917, aged 26 and is buried in the Rocquigny-Equancourt British Cemetery in France.
An extract from The London Gazette, No. 30400, dated 23rd Nov., 1917, records the following:- "For most conspicuous bravery when in charge of a Lewis gun section covering the consolidation of the right front company. He accounted for several enemy with his rifle as well as by Lewis gun fire, and, upon seeing three enemy leave a "pill-box," he went out single handed through our own barrage and hostile machine-gun fire, and effected an entry into the "pill-box." He there captured nine enemy including a forward observation officer connected by telephone with his battery. These prisoners he brought back with him, together with valuable information."s flynn
Pte. Edward Barber VC 1st Btn. Grenadier Guards (d.12th March 1915)Edward Barber was killed in action on the 12th of March 1915, aged 22 and is commemorated on The Le Touret Memorial in France. he was the son of William and Sarah Ann Barber, of Miswell Lane, Tring, Herts
An extract from The London Gazette, dated 19th April, 1915, records the following:- "For most conspicuous bravery on 12th March, 1915, at Neuve-Chapelle. He ran speedily in front of the grenade company to which he belonged, and threw bombs on the enemy with such effect that a very great number of them at once surrendered. When the grenade party reached Pte. Barber they found him quite alone and unsupported, with the enemy surrendering all about him."s flynn
Capt. Montague Aubrey Rowley Cholmeley 4th Btn. Grenadier Guards (d.24th Dec 1914)Montague Cholmeley was killed in action in France on 24th December 1914s flynn
Gdsmn. Arthur Edwin Shortland Grenadier GuardsMy Grandfather, Arthur Edwin Shortland, served in the Grenadier Guards during WW1. I have the 3 medals commonly know as Pip, Squeak and Wilfred.Chris Shortland
Gdsm. William Albert Shiner 4th Battalion Grenadier Guards (d.2nd Dec 1917)William Albert Shiner was 22 when he died during the battle of Cambrai. He was married to my great Aunt. They had been married for just over a year when he died. His family were farmers at Cleeve in North Somerset.Jane Gould
Pte. William Edgar Holmes VC. 2nd Btn. Grenadier Guards (d.9th Oct 1918)William Holmes was killed in action on the 9th of October 1918, aged 23 and is buried in Carnieres Communal Cemetery in France. He was the son of Mrs. E. E. Holmes, of Didbrook, Winchcombe, Glos.
An extract from The London Gazette, No. 31082, dated 24th Dec., 1918, records the following:- "For most conspicuous bravery and devotion to duty at Cattenieres on the 9th Oct., 1918. Pte. Holmes carried in two men under the most intense fire, and, while he was attending to a third case, he was severely wounded. In spite of this, he continued to carry wounded, and was shortly afterwards again wounded, with fatal results. By his self-sacrifice and disregard of danger he was the means of saving the lives of several of his comrades."s flynn
Grdsmn. James Yapp 3rd Btn. Grenadier Guards (d.27th Nov 1917)James Yapp was killed in action on the 27th of November 1917, aged 22 and is commemorated on The Cambrai Memorial in France. He was the son of James & Sarah Yapp of 44 Stable Row, Lightmoor, Dawley, Shropshire and had enlisted into the KSLI Territorials (4th Bn.) in June 1913 aged 17 years 10 months and had been discharged as unfit for duty in Oct 1914 only to immediately re-enlist into the Guardss flynn
Pte. Thomas Cunliffe 2nd Btn. Grenadier Guards (d.23rd Oct 1915)Thomas Cunliffe was my great uncle. He enlisted in the Grenadier Guards in June 1914 and then went to Caterham to undergo training. He joined with his best friend William Calderbank and sailed for France in January 1915 blissfully unaware that neither of them would see their home town again. They fought side by side at some notable and well documented engagements such as Hill 70 and the Battle of Loos and must have thought their luck would see them through. However this was not to be as after 9 months William was killed by a sniper and Thomas had the unenviable task of writing to William’s parents back in Wigan.
Dear Friends, I am sorry to inform you that your son got killed on the 7th. Poor lad he got hit in the head and his death was instantaneous. He has been in my mind ever since his death. A fellow came up the trenches and said “your mate has gone under”. I could hardly believe who it was at first and then he said “Bill Calderbank”. Well I felt as if I’d been hit. I went to see him, poor fellow. He had a decent burial. The Catholic priest was there and read over his dead body. He had only just put his head up over the trench and he got hit by a sniper. Accept my deepest sympathy. All his chums hope you will accept their deepest sympathy”.
The pathetic feature of this story is that the very next day after William was killed Thomas was wounded. A bomb exploded in the trench near him, blowing off one of his legs and damaging the other so severely that it later had to be amputated. He wrote to his parents, Joseph and Mary Cunliffe in Wigan, “Hope this finds you quite well as I am alive but hardly kicking” His letter goes on to describe the events that led up to his injury and his hopes and expectations to be back in Wigan for Christmas.
Unfortunately the story does not have a happy ending as on 23rd October Thomas died from his wounds. The lady superintendent at the hospital in Wimereux wrote to his parents telling them, “Your poor son got weaker and weaker in spite of all we tried to do for him. He will be buried here in the cemetery in Wimereux. It is a pretty place on a hillside and there are many flowers there in spring and summer. My assistant matron takes great interest in it and sees that it is nicely kept in order” Thomas will be remembered with pride and affection by our family.Graham Parkinson
Pte. William Railton 4th Battalion (d.2nd Sep 1917)William Railton died of injuries received at the 61st Casualty Clearing Station on the 2nd September 1917, after joining in or around October 1916 in Colne, Lancs.Peter J Railton
Pte. Joseph Zaleski 2nd Btn. Grenadier GuardsJoseph Zaleski served with the 2nd Btn. Grenadier GuardsTrevor Zaleski
L/Sgt. Thomas James Green 2nd Btn. Grenadier Guards (d.24th Dec 1914)My great uncle, Thomas Green, was missing for years from my family history. I found (by accident) a soldiers' enlistment poem which mentioned Sergeant Instructor Green, the father of Thomas Green of the Grenadier Guards who died on Christmas Eve 1914.
Pte. John William Whappshott 2nd Btn. Grenadier GuardsMy grandad, Jack Whappshott was lucky - he was injured at Ypres on the first day of the battle. He had his arm shattered but it meant that his time in the war was over. His brother was not so lucky. He died a few days before his 16th birthday.Annemarie Pallister
Pte. Charles Henry Smith 1st Battalion Grenadier Guards (d.22nd Nov 1917)Charles Henry Smith joined the Grenadier Guards at the age of 15, lying about his age. Apparently this was with the permission of his father. Harry as he was known was killed aged 16, weeks after the Battle of Loos. His name is on the Loos Memorial at Dud Cemetery and the Memorial in Ashby De La Zouch. The actual cause of his death is a bit of a mystery as according to the regimental diary his unit was behind the lines at the time of his death - but sporadic sniper fire was reported. He was a stretcher bearer at this time so could go some way to explaining what happened.Nicola Smith
Drmr. Eaglefield Grenadier GuardsDrummer Eaglefield was a prisoner at Gustrow POW camp. He lost both feet through frostbite, caused by outside Appells held in all weather.
George Brearley 2nd Btn. Grenadier GuardsFormer miner George Brearley was a regular soldier, with the 2nd Battalion, Grenadier Guards. He had landed in France on 13th August 1914 and after heavy fighting on 1st September a wounded comrade visited his brother to tell him that he had seen a shell burst, “blowing him to smithereens”.
As his family grieved, the reality was that George Brearley was alive, a prisoner of the Germans. Before they got to him he managed to scribble a note on a scrap of paper and placed it in a sealed bottle in the hope that someone would pass the message on to his family. “If this paper is found will you please write to this address – Mrs. Davis, Star Inn, Bulwell, Notts., England and tell them George is well.”
As unlikely as it sounds, the message was picked up a couple of weeks afterwards by a French civilian after the Germans had been forced to retreat from the area. Dutifully, he forwarded the message to Cissie Davis who had the covering letter translated by a French teacher at the Coventry Road School in Bulwell.
Despite this, George's family still doubted that he was alive and even when they received a postcard from him, it was thought that it was probably a forgery. However, the family was eventually convinced when they recognised him in a photograph of a working party in a German POW camp at Doeberitz, near Berlin. Somehow a newspaper published in Pennsylvania was sent to offices of the Dispatch. Staff there recognised George Brearley as the man, shovel in hand, digging a drainage ditch under the supervision of a German officer. Even then one family member did not believe that it was him.
The story of the sighting of him in the newspaper photograph is almost as unlikely as a message written in a bottle being discovered on a battlefield. It is true nevertheless. George Brearley returned to Hucknall after the Armistice more than four years later.
Samuel E. Fletcher 4th Btn. Grenadier Guards (d.17th Apr 1918)My Great Grandfather Samuel E Fletcher serving with the 4th Grenadier Guards, 16th Platoon was captured near La Couronne on the 14th of April during the Battle of Hazebrouk. He later died on the 17th of his wounds to the spine.Rex Fletcher
Pte. Walter Ainger Brooks 2nd Btn. (d.31st July 1917)I recently found out while tracing family relatives that my great uncle, Walter Brooks, was killed in WW1 at Ypres. I knew of him, but had no idea he had been killed in WW1. My mother, his niece, was born the same month he died. I have been on many battlefield tours in recent years and visited the Menin Gate at Ypres a couple of years ago and am sad that I didn't know then that my great uncle was killed at Ypres and is mentioned on Panel 9 and 11 at the Menin Gate Memorial.Veronica Bowers
Gnl. John Gort VC, MC, MID. Grenadier GuardsDuring the First World War General John Gort was Mentioned in Dispatches nine times and won the Military Cross. On 27th September 1918, Gort won the Victoria Cross at Canal du Nord.S. Flynn
Want to know more about Grenadier Guards ?There are:14741 pages and articles tagged Grenadier Guards available in our LibraryThese include information on officers, regimental histories, letters, diaries, personal accounts and information about actions during the Great War.
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