Private 25673 James Neale, aged 43, from Teddington, was killed in action at Cambrai on 30 November 1917, and is buried Gouzeaucourt New British Cemetery. He was born in Walton, the son of John Neale of Walton-on-Thames, Surrey and enlisted as Private 23552 in the East Surrey Regiment in Hounslow. His widow was Eleanor Ifainnya Neale of 74 Fulwell Road, Teddington. His service records have not survived. In 1911 the family lived at 179 Church Road, Teddington, where James worked as a stone mason in a cemetery. There were two children, Eleanor Emily b 1899, and Winifred Maud b 1901. His medal index card indicates that he was a late recruit, possibly conscripted.
Private 18866 Frederick Newman died in England during training on 6 December 1914, and is buried in Brookwood Cemetery, Surrey. He enlisted 1914, aged 21 yrs 27 days, born Birtley, Metal Cleaner. He was 5ft 7in, 36 in chest, 130lbs, fair complexion, light brown hair and eys, C of E. He had previously served as a Territorial with 8 DLI but was term expired.
He had married Frances Jane Nesbitt on 3 January 1914 at Birtley, witnessed by William Newman and Maggie Hutchinson, and it appears his new wife gave birth to their daughter Hilda on 4 January 1914, the day after. Mrs Newman re-married after the war to become Frances Jane Blacklock, living at 12 Swinburne Place, Birtley. She had previously been awarded a pension of 15s 0d for herself and child from 4 June 1915.
She filled out a form dated 28 April 1920 to state that Newman had not died ‘from disease medically certified as commencing or contracted on active service’. This seems a strange form, given that (a) she had been granted a pension, (b) she had re-married and (c) Newman had died of double pneumonia while in training at Pirbright Camp on 6 December 1914. He was buried at Brookwood and his widow attended the funeral. The medical papers show he suffered high temperatures, ‘dullness right base’, his breathing was very difficult and he was given oxygen, but did not survive.
Private 13781 John Noble died of wounds on 4 September 1916, and is buried La Neuville British Cemetery, Corbie. Noble was aged 27 yrs 8 months when he enlisted at Consett 26 August 1914. Born in Penrith, he was a painter and married. 5ft 4in 120lbs, 34½in chest, fresh complexion, blue eyes, brown hair and C of E.
He was originally assigned to 11 DLI with 6 Platoon, B Company, but shortly after going to France was sent back to 16 DLI (26 August 1915), returning to his unit 25 November 1915 to serve with D Company and it is this later date that appears on his medal index card. In between he spent time with No 10 Entrenching Battalion, which suggests that he had suffered some form of injury or illness and needed to recover his strength.
His conduct sheet was largely clean, though he was deprived 5 days pay on 22 June 1916 for some unspecified misdemeanour. He died of gun shot wounds received during the attack on Guillemont, at 21 CCS on 4 September 1916.
He left a wife and two children, Elsie b 1904 and Florence b 1907. The widow received a pension of 21s 0d a week from 19 March 1917, increased to 22s 11d from 4 April 1917. His personal effects were returned and the widow noted on the receipt form ‘Received the above articles. Thanking you for your kindness. Mrs Noble’.
Private 23136 James Oakley from Middlesbrough was reported missing, presumed killed in action, 21 March 1918, and is commemorated on the Pozières Memorial. His service records have not survived, but his medal index card indicates that he first went overseas on 20 May 1915, which indicates that he originally served with 10 DLI and was transferred to 11 DLI at a later date. At the time of the 1911 Census he was living with his parents, James and Lucy Oakley, at 32 Poplar Terrace, Linthorpe, Middlesbrough. He worked in the building trade as a stone mason and was then aged 27. He had a younger sister, Mary Ellen.
Private 19499, enlisted 2 March 1915, served with 19th DLI and then 11th DLI, when taken prisoner during the March Retreat in 1918. He survived the war and was discharged 13 January 1919.
Private 43201 John O’Brien from Grimsby, died of wounds during the March Retreat, 29 March 1918, and is commemorated on the Pozières Memorial. He previously served as 5221 in West Yorkshire Regiment. His service records have not survived and his medal index card indicates that he enlisted after 1915.
Private 43200, aged 33 from Leeds, was killed in action 21 April 1917, and is commemorated on the Loos Memorial. His service records have not survived. He originally served as Private 5573 with the West Yorkshire Regiment, signing up too late to serve overseas during 1915. While the UK Soldiers who Died lists him as 11 DLI, the CWGC lists him correctly as 14 DLI, and this explains why he should be commemorated on the Loos Memorial, at a time when 11 DLI were involved mostly doing road work in the rear Somme area following the gradual retreat of the Germans towards the Hindenburg Line. It is possible that he spent time with 11 DLI before transfer to 14 DLI, as there were frequent interchanges between DLI battalions and Oddy may have been wounded serving with the West Yorkshires, being transferred to DLI on return to the Front. He was the son of George and Jane Oddy of 10 Genoa Road, Armley, Leeds, and husband of Clelia Oddy who lived after the war at 17 Edinburgh Place, Armley. In 1911, he was aged 27 , working as a Letterpress Machine Minder in the printing industry, and lived with his wife Clelia, 24, and daughter Emily, 3, at 5 Fearnley Street, Tong Road, Leeds.
O’Neil, William James
Private 16243 William James O’Neil aged 25, from Gateshead, died at home 7 January 1920, and is buried Gateshead East Cemetery. Strictly speaking, at the time of death he served as 418616, Labour Corps, to which he had probably been transferred due to being no longer fit for overseas service. He had not enlisted before 1915. He was the son of Mrs Ellen O’Neil of 16 Pollick Street, Gateshead.
Sergeant 25774 James O’Neill died in England 21 October 1917 when attached to 276th Infantry Training Battalion, and is buried at St Joseph RC Church, Birtley.
He enlisted 1 September 1914 and was almost immediately assigned as Corporal at DLI Depot. By 24 September he was Acting Sergeant and was confirmed at this rank 19 July 1915. He went out to France until 27 Feb 1916 and reverted to Corporal at his own request on being sent back to Depot, but when posted back to 11 DLI on 6 April 1916 he worked his way back up to Sergeant. He was 5ft 5½ in tall, 142 lbs and with a 37½ in chest, married to Mary, with three children at 5 West Row, Portobello, Birtley. He was Roman Catholic and the son of Patrick and Eliza O’Neill of Harraton near Chester le Street.
He was posted back home on 7 December 1916 to take up a post with A Company, 276 TR Infantry Battalion, probably to train conscripts. He died of multiple injuries as a result of being run down by a motor bus on 21 Oct 1917. He sustained injuries to his skull, spine, pelvic girdle and femur.
In a letter dated 7 Jan 1918 it was decided that: “as he was not engaged in the performance of military duty when he met with the accident which caused his death, his widow is not eligible for the grant of a pension under article 11 of the Royal Warrant of the 29th March 1917”. His widow was awarded only a temporary pension of 15s 0d per week from 29 April 1918. There is no indication in the service records of any change to this decision.
Private 25752 Patrick O’Neil from Birtley was killed in action on 5 January 1916, and is buried at the Rue Petillon Military Cemetery. The battalion was on the Laventie Front at Rue de Bruges doing trench work, laying boards and tramways. His service records have not survived but his medal index card indicates that he went out to France with the battalion on 20 July 1915.
Lance Corporal 25768 Matthew Ord, age 28, from Blyth, died of wounds 11 December 1916, and is buried Grove Town Cemetery, Méaulte. The battalion were doing normal Pioneer work on roads, accommodation and railways near Montauban. His service records have not survived. His widow was Elsie May Ord of 6 Alley Street, Guernsey. In 1911 he was living with his parents Thomas and June Ord at 10 South Benwell Road, South Benwell, Northumberland. He was aged 23 and worked as labourer in the gas works. His wife, Elsie May aged 26 from Guernsey, lived with him along with their son Albert aged 1.
Sergeant 14065 John Ormston died of wounds on 5 December 1917, and is buried in Boisguillaume Communal Cemetery.
Born Blaydon, aged 34, labourer, married, he enlisted 31 August 1914 at Consett and was sent to 11 DLI, serving with A Company. He was 5ft 9 in, weighing 155 lbs.
On 2 October 1914 he was promoted Acting Lance Corporal, on 14 October Acting Corporal and then confirmed at that rank. He was severely reprimanded for being drunk on staff parade 11 December 1914 at Pirbright. On 24 December 1915 he was made Lance Sergeant, and promoted full Sergeant on 17 September 1916 vice Sergeant McEvoy, who was promoted to CSM. He was on leave to England 5-15 January 1917.
He died of wounds to the back at 8 GH on 5 December 1917. His widow was Mrs Amy Ormston (she re-married as Mrs Paxton on 26 July 1919) of 28a Gladstone Court, Consett. They had three children John, Leslie, Ernest.
Returned items: 2 discs, comb, 2 religious books, knife, copy of Army orders, measure, watch, purse, compass, rosary, titles, chain, charm, badge, wallet, franc note. Note rosary, although C of E. Some items suggest a certain degree of conscientiousness in his job. In his will he left his Gold Albert Chain and Silver Watch to his son John and the rest to his wife.