Sadler, Joseph Charles
Private 76806 Joseph Charles Sadler, aged 23, was reported missing in action 22 March 1918, and is commemorated on the Pozières Memorial.
He enlisted 11 December 1915 at Coventry, aged 21 yrs 200 days. Married, a motor coach body maker, from 28 Gas St, Coventry, he was 5ft 7½ in, 34 ¾ in chest, 130 lbs. His wife was Gertrude May (née Gupwell), and they were married 20 November 1915 in Coventry and had one son Joseph Gupwell Sadler born 1 April 1916. He had his medical exxamination at Warwick 7 April 1916 and was found to be slightly deaf, with deficient teeth and a hypertropic heart. He was called up 18 April 1916 to Chatham for examination as to trade by the Royal Engineers. He was classed as a proficient carpenter and awarded an extra 1s 0d pay.
He was assigned to the RE from 7 April 1916 as 158828 and sent to 9 Depot Co, RE Training Centre at Newark, where he remained until 16 Sept 1917. He was then sent to 896 Area Employment Company and on to the Labour Corps on 29 September 1917 as 412980, possibly not being considered fully fit. He was classed PB on 14 November 1917 and reclassified Class A at Boulogne on 16 January 1918. On 25 January 1918 he was transferred to 11 DLI as 76806. He was reported missing 22 March 1918 and presumed dead 17 July 1918 and struck off the roll. He had therefore been incredibly unlucky to have been reclassified in terms of fitness.
After the war his widow lived at 24 Providence Street, Earlsdon where she was paid 26s 6d separation allowance. She was awarded a pension of 20s 5d from 2 December 1918.
Private 79143 Fred Schofield, aged 19, was reported missing presumed killed in action 27 March 1918, and is commemorated on the Pozières Memorial.
A conscript, he attested 16 April 1917 at Halifax. Cloth finisher from 30 Upperhead Road, Huddersfield, aged 18 yrs 64 days, 5ft 4½, 35in, 116 lbs, C of E. His parents were George and Louisa Ann Schofield, and he had 3 sisters.
He was trained at No 3 TRB, Rugeley (Northumberland Fusiliers) until 20 September 1917. From then until 12 October 1917 he was at Westbere Camp, and then at Willesborough until sent to France on 1 March 1918 to join 11 DLI. In the meantime he had spent time suffering from scabies and was hospitalised at 317 FA Reception Hospital for sulphur fumigation from 26 January 1918 to 1 February 1918. He was declared missing presumed dead on 27 March 1918.
The papers are confusing, as there seems to have been a mix up with several papers relating to 79130 Pte Fred Harland of Stanley St, South Hetton. Harland was also a conscript, originally serving with East Yorkshire Regiment and transferred to DLI, and was killed with 2 DLI on 30 May 1918.
Frederick Thompson Scott
Private, 81984: Listed in York Absent Voters List 1918, p 100, at West Lee, 7 Nunthorpe Avenue, York. In the 1911 Census he was aged 11, a schoolboy at the same address, and his parents were William J W Scott, provisions merchant, and Elizabeth Scott. He survived the war.
Scott, George [Alias]
Private 16257 George Scott, aged 28 from Gateshead and Paisley, was killed in action 12 November 1915, and buried Rue-du-Bacquerot No. 1 Military Cemetery. He served with B Company. Scott was not his real name. See the entry for George Gowans.
Private 23513 George Scott was killed in action, and buried Sucrerie Military Cemetery, Colincamps.
He enlisted 26 January 1915 in Gateshead. He was a miner from 17 Wilson St, Teams, Gateshead, aged 37 yrs 364 days, 5ft 7 ¾ , chest 39½ ins. He was married to Mary Anne (née Quinn) at Gateshead Register Office and they had five children.
On 10 February 1915 he was sent to 11 DLI then already several months in training. On 1 June 1915 he was given 10 days FP No 2 for being absent 25 to 31 May 1915, probably late back from pre-embarkation leave. He went overseas with the battalion on 20 July 1915. On 2 August 1916 he was killed in action, serving with B Company.
His widow pension will have received a pension but the award in the records is illegible. She had moved by 1919 to 192 Saltwell Rd, Bensham, Gateshead. His parents wrote to the War Office to try to get leave for Kenneth Scott, the eldest child, also serving overseas.
Private S/15473 Joseph Scott enlisted on 16 September 1916 at the age of 18 and was discharged 9 September 1918 at the age of 20 with a Silver War Badge. As well as 11 DLI, he served as Private 34830 Yorkshire Regiment and finally 55282, 18th Scottish Rifles.
Scott, Joseph Norman
Lance Corporal 21437 Joseph Norman Scott, aged 20, died of wounds 5 September 1916 and is buried La Neuville British Cemetery, Corbie.
He enlisted at Consett 7 November 1914, was posted to 16 DLI and then overseas to 11 DLI 4 August 1915 in France. He was 19 yrs 6 months, 5ft 9¼, 137 lbs, 36½, Wesleyan. His parents were Thomas and Ellen Scott of 5 Ford Street, Lanchester, and he had 4 brothers and 3 sisters. On 5 September 1916 he died of wounds, in 21 Casualty Clearing Station. He served with A Company.
Sear, Walter George Lane
TNA Reference: WO339/50265
Captain Walter George Lane Sear was Australian by birth, as is clear from a form from the Commissioner of Oaths dated 11 October 1915 in relation to his application for a commission. It states:
I Walter George Lane Sear a Private in the Inns of Court OTC at present stationed at Berkhamsted in the County of Hertford do solemnly and sincerely declare that I was born at Adelaide, South Australia on the Twentieth day of January 1884 and am the sone of Walter George Sear and Harriett Sear his wife.
His temporary address for correspondence was given as c/o Debenhams, 91 Wimpole Street, London and his permanent address was given as The Colonial Sugar Refining Co Ltd, Sydney, Australia. He was a Superintendent at that location and he was married. He had attended Sydney Grammar School.
He enlisted as a Territorial through the OTC on 5 August 1915, remaining with them until promoted Temporary 2nd Lieutenant on 17 November 1915. At the age of 31 he was appointed Temp 2nd Lt with 21st Durham Light Infantry reserve on 10 December 1915. It is not clear from the records when he became an officer in the 11 DLI, but he was promoted Lieutenant on 16 July 1916, and Captain on 9 February 1917. [According to the war diary he was certainly serving with 11 DLI in November 1917, re-placing Captain Palmer in charge of A Company at Cambrai. Palmer had transferred to the Tank Corps.]
He left 11 DLI on 29 March 1918 to Rouen, having been wounded that day. He was transferred to England from Rouen on 13 April, arriving Southampton 16 April 1918, with leave sanctioned until 22 August 1918. He was sent initially to the Prince of Wales Hospital, Marylebone. Army Form A45A says he was ‘wounded by a bullet which perforated left shoulder and left lung’. It was caused by a machine gun bullet which entered just below the inner third of the left clavicle and came out at an angle of the left scapula. ‘He coughed up blood within 6 hours of being hit’.
On 16 July he was sent home, though it is not stated where this was. On 24 July he sent a latter of application as follows: ‘I have the honour to submit this my application for wound gratuity. I was wounded through left lung at Mezieres March 29th 1918. I have since been at No 5 Southern General Hospital, Portsmouth and Prince of Wales Hospital for Officers, Marylebone’.
Captain Sear was demobilised on 2 May 1919 and granted his rank as permanent, transferring to the Reserve with effect from 21 October 1920. Within a few weeks he had returned to Australia, giving his address on 20 December 1920 as Rawhide, Roslyndale Avenue, Woollahra, Sydney, New South Wales. He had relinquished his commission on 20 November, but was transferred to the Regular Army Reserve from 1 July 1921. He was finally discharged on 20 January 1934. The last known address provided was in 1927, at 605 St Kilda Road, Melbourne.
Captain Sear was awarded the Military Cross, noted in the London Gazette 27 October 1917 and 18 Mar 1918. The citation reads:
“For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty when in charge of working parties constructing strong points in the line. During five days he showed great coolness and energy in leading his men to their work under heavy fire and difficult conditions. It was due to his initiative and determination that important work was successfully carried out”
Given the dates this must have been during 3rd Ypres in preparation for the capture of Langemarck.
Private 16814 Harry Seggar enlisted in Darlington on 2 September 1914. He was 5ft 3 in, with a 33 in chest, weighed 115 lbs, with a dark complexion, grey eyes and dark brown hair. He professed Church of England. He had been born in Hurworth, and was aged 25 years and 70 days, worked as a grocer, and was not married.
Harry was posted immediately to 11 DLI for training. He was inoculated and vaccinated in October and November of 1914, as were all recruits. On 2 December 1914 he was made acting Lance Corporal, promoted Acting Corporal on 3 June 1915 and immediately confirmed at that rank. He was little trouble to the authorities during training, being pulled up for overstaying his pass at Pirbright on 2 January 1915 (a common offence for men returning from leave) and losing a day’s pay. He went overseas with the battalion on 20 July 1915 and served with them throughout the war. On 17 February 1917 he was made up to Acting Sergeant and confirmed at that rank on 7 March 1917, leading a section of D Company. During 1917 he was adjudged ‘deserving of special mention in despatches’ and the event recorded in the London Gazette of 25 May 1917.
He was home on leave to England from 28 August to 7 September 1917. Despite conditions at the front he seems to have had few health problems, admitted to 61 Casualty Clearing Station for treatment of dental caries from 24 September 1917 to 19 October. There was not much opportunity for dental hygiene in the trenches and many soldiers, both officers and men had to have treatment.
In the spring of 1918 the battalion were in reserve in the area near St Quentin when the Germans launched a massive offensive on 21 March. They quickly found themselves in action and were part of a steady and gallant retreat over the next ten days that finally brought the German attacks to a standstill. During these actions, on Thursday, 28 March 1918, Harry Seggar lost his life.
Before dawn, the 20th (Light) Division, of which 11 DLI was part, was being relieved from the area to the east of the village of Arvillers. However, before 11 DLI could be relieved they came under direct attack from their right flank. With help from 12 Rifle Brigade in the village behind, the survivors managed to extricate themselves and join the rest of the Division by 3 pm. Six men died, many more being wounded and taken prisoner. Harry’s death was confirmed as of 14 April 1918 and the family informed.
Following the war the family were sent his three medals, a Memorial Scroll and a bronze Memorial Plaque. There was also a certificate for his ‘mention in despatches’ and an Oak Leaf Emblem which accompanied his medals for this.
At the time of Seggar’s death his parents William and Alice lived at Garden House, Croft Spa and he had 11 brothers and sisters. There was correspondence also with the family via 3 Moorend Terrace, Croft Spa, which may have been the site of Harry’s grocery store. In 1901 the father was listed in the census as a musician and flautist and the house number was then 36 Church Row, Hurworth, a few doors along from the Emerson Arms. William Seggar, the father, was a musician and flautist aged 47, from Kersey in Suffolk, and his wife Alice was aged 42 from Hurworth. Living with them were: Ada (20) a laundress, born in Sizewell, Suffolk; Jessie (16) also a laundress, born in Darlington; Alfreda (13), Harry (11), Thomas (8), Albert (5), Lilian (3) and Rose (1) – all born in Hurworth. Those not listed in 1901 included: John Seggar, who served in the Coldstream Guards in WW1; Gertrude, who had married; and Edward and Willie, still to be born.
The Seggars of Kersey, Suffolk, had other military connections: Benjamin Robert Seggar had joined the 1st Battalion, Royal Lancaster Regiment and died from dysentery in South Africa in the Boer War in 1901 (his father, Jack Seggar, was a Chelsea Pensioner); Harry John Seggar signed up in 1914 aged 18 to join the 14th Brigade, Royal Horse Artillery as a groom-cum-driver and was promoted to Bombardier (equivalent of Corporal). Equally, several of Harry’s brothers and brothers-in-law also served with during WW1.
Private 25600 James (Jim) Seymour, aged 23, from Newcastle-upon-Tyne, killed in action 20 November 1917, buried Villers-Plouich Communal Cemetery. Field service postcard at Durham County Records Office, record number 7/623/1 and his medals are on display in the Durham Light Infantry Museum Medal Collection.
He was born Westgate, Newcastle on Tyne, killed in action 20 November 1917. he was one of the early casualties of the Battle of Cambrai when the 11 DLI were building the communication trenches to forward positions newly won by 20 Division. He was aged 23.
He was the son of Josiah U and EE Seymour of 26 Warden Street, Newcastle, which indicates that the field postcard was sent to his sister at the same address a few months before he was killed. It may well have been one of his last communications home and treasured by his sister as a memento. No service records found.
Shafto, Thomas Edward
Private 13997 Thomas Edward Shafto, aged 25, died 25 April 1918, and is buried Roye New British Cemetery.
He enlisted at Bishop Auckland on 31 August 1914, aged 20 yrs 9 days, labourer, born West Auckland. He was 5ft 6½, 34″ chest, fair complexion, grey eyes, fair hair, Wesleyan. His parents were Elizabeth and Edward Granville Shafto of 8 Railway Terrace, New Shildon. He had 3 brothers and 2 sisters, and made a separation allowance to his mother of 7s 2d.
He was immediately allocated to 11 DLI. During training at Lark Hill he missed church parade on 25 April 1915, and got 7 days confined to barracks. When in France on 8 September 1916 he was admitted to 39 CCS with diarrhoea and it was so severe he was sent on 17 September 1916 to 24 General Hospital and eventually on 13 October 1916 to England for treatment, attached temporaraily to DLI Depot. Following recovery on 20 March 1917 he was allocated to 3 DLI before going back to France on 10 June 1917. On 30 June he returned to 11 DLI.
On 23 March 1918, during the German Spring Offensive he was reported missing while with A Company. He was taken prisoner and on 25 April 1918 he died of pneumonia at Damery, north west of Roye, according to official German list received by War Office. The only personal items returned were a wallet and identity disc. His name appears on both the war memorials in Shildon Town Centre and in New Shildon.
Private 14810 Francis Shanley, aged 27, from Newcastle-upon-Tyne, was killed in action on 7 October 1916, and is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial. He was the son of Francis and Isabella Shanley of Benson’s Buildings, Westerhope, Newcastle and before the war worked in the local colliery as a surface labourer ‘sipping stones’. His father was a miner. His service records have not survived but his medal index card shows that he served with 11 DLI throughout the war, going overseas on 20 July 1915. At the time of his death, the battalion were working from Tatler Trench repairing roads, trenches and other infrastructure under heavy fire.
Private 16818 William Sheehan was killed in action on 7 October 1916, and is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial
He enlisted on 31 August 1914 in West Hartlepool, an ironworks labourer, born St Peters Stockton, aged 27 yrs 177 days, not married, RC. He was 5ft 2, 121 lbs, 34in chest, fresh complexion, blue eyes, auburn hair, mole on right forearm. He was allocated to 11 DLI.
While in training there were a number of misdemeanours. On 1 January 1915 at Pirbright, he overstayed pass to 3 January 1915, and got 3 days CB and lost 2 days pay. Again at Pirbright on 10 January 1915 he was pulled up for using obscene language to NCO, and given 28 days detention. At Witley Camp on 15 February 1915 there was a further offence, but the records are indistinct. Finally on 27 May 1915 at Lark Hill he was given 3 days CB for inattention on parade.
He went out to France with the battalion on 20 July 1915. On 29 October 1915 he reported to 61 Field Ambulance with scabies, returning to duty on 2 November 1915. On 28 June 1916, when the battalion was stationed near Brandhoek, he was given 21 days FP No 2 for being drunk and not complying with orders. He was killed in action serving with C Company on 7 October 1916, when the battalion were working from Tatler Trench on the Somme, repairing tracks, roads and trenches under heavy fire.
On 11December 1916, one of his sisters, a Mrs Farrian, wrote to the war office asking for any effects:
“I am writing to you in respect of my dead brother Pte William Sheehan 16818 11th Batt DLI he was killed in action in France on 8 Oct 1916. I have had word from the War Office saying that the effect of his dead body would be forwarded to you. I will be very thankful if their is any letters or articles that are of no importance to the War Office. I will be obliged if you will forward them on to me as his home was with me. Believe me, Yours Mrs Jane Farriam, 18 Alice St, West Hartlepool”
Mrs Farriam was the youngest of the sisters, aged 43. Also living at the address was the eldest brother, Michael Sheehan, aged 54.
Shephard, George William
Private 49616 George William Shephard, was reported missing, presumed killed in action on 22 March 1918, and is commemorated on the Pozières Memorial.
He originally attested at Grantham 10 December 1915, and was called up 19 May 1916 at Lincoln. He applied to a tribunal for exemption on the grounds that his work as a horse man for a farmer was essential and was acknowledged as ‘starred’ but called up anyhow. He was aged 22 yrs 217 days, born Boston, working at Burton-le-Coggle, near Grantham. His parents were George William and Elizabeth Ann Shephard of Lowgate Farm, Hogsthorpe, Alford, Lincs, and there were 5 brothers. He was 5ft 5 ¾ , 35 in chest, and weighed 141 lbs.
He trained with 89th TRB with the regimental number 24160 until 6 October 1916 when he was was attached to 14 DLI (or KRRC – the records are indistinct). He was wounded 20-22 April 1917, admitted 18 FA 22 April 1917 with shot wound to right thigh, was sent on to 1 CCS, then on 24 April 1917 via Boulogne and the 3rd Canadian General Hospital to York, where he arrived 26 April 1917. Rejoined or was allocated to 14 DLI early 1918, but was home on leave 23 January 1918. He was transferred to 11 DLI 8 February 1918 with the regimental number 49616, when 14 DLI was disbanded. He was reported missing 22 March 1918 on the first day of action for 11 DLI during the German Spring Offensive.
Lance Corporal 16016 John Shield, aged 32, died of wounds 17 September 1916, and is buried in Bard Cottage Cemetery, Boezinge.
He attested 28 August 1914 at Stanley. Born South Moor, Stanley, 26 yrs 5 months, he was a miner, son of Miles Shield, mother deceased, 3 brothers and 2 sisters at 5 Muriel St, South Moor. He was 5ft 5½, 145 lbs, 35 in chest, fresh complexion, light blue eyes, light brown hair, C of E.
He had a clean conduct during training, was with 11 DLI from the outset. On 25October 1916 he was appointed unpaid Lance Corporal He was home on leave 27 October to 3 November 1916. He died of wounds serving with D Company on 17 September 1917 during the preparations for the successful attack on Langemarck as part of the battle of Third Ypres. The only personal item returned was his identity disc.
Short, William Harold
Private 25762 William Harold Short, from Consett, was killed in action 15 April 1917, buried Lebucquiere Communal Cemetery. He was the husband of Mrs Short of 42 Walmersley Road, Bury. His service records have not survived, but his medal index card shows he served with 11 DLI from the start, going out to France on 20 July 1915. According to ‘Soldiers Died’, though he was born and enlisted in Consett, he was living in Devon at the outbreak of war.
Siddle, William Clennell
Sergeant 18955 William Clennell Siddle was killed in action 10 November 1915, and is buried in the Royal Irish Rifles Graveyard, at Laventie.
He enlisted at Consett 1 September 1914, age 23, fireman, not married, born Blackhill, Co Durham. He was 5ft 7 ¾ , 130 lbs, 38 in chest, fair complexion, blue eyes, dark brown hair, Wesleyan.
He was allocated to 11 DLI and on 2 October 1914 he was appointed Lance Corporal, quickly promoted to Lance Sergeant on 14 October. There was only one blot on his conduct record during training. On 30 January 1915, at Pirbright, he was admonished for neglect of duty while orderly sergeant. Nevertheless on 2 February 1915 he was made Acting Sergeant and confirmed in that rank on 19 July 1915, the day before embarkation for France.
On 10 November 1915, while serving with A Company, he was killed in action. The battalion were working from billets at Epinette and La Flinque Farm on the Laventie Front, and were allocated to the trenches on this day, where they were struggling to maintain waterlogged trenches where the walls kept falling in, while under regular shell fire.
His Pay and small book were returned to York Records Office by Captain Pollock, pointing out that there was a will, unsigned, but OK as left all to mother. She had had 10s 7d in allowances, but probably got no pension. During the long gap between 1915 and the end of the war his mother, Mrs Mary E Lonsdale, must have moved as there was problem finding her. She had lived at 59 Thornton St, Newcastle but the police could not trace her. As luck would have it she wrote to the War Office March 1921 from 19 Henry Street, Shillarfield, Newcastle stating that she had not received his medals. These were sent on.
Lance Corporal 25761 Edward Simpson, aged 35, from Stanley, died of wounds 12 December 1917, and is buried St Sever Cemetery Extension, Rouen. He was the son of James and Sarah Simpson of West Stanley and husband of Mary Jane Simpson of 10 Laxey Street, West Stanley. His service records have not survived. At the time of the 1911 Census he was still with his parents, single, aged 29 and working as a coal miner at Dunston on Tyne.
Sinclair, William Henry
Private 46369 William Henry Sinclair, aged 32, from Sunderland, died of wounds 25 October 1918, and is buried in St Sever Cemetery Extension, Rouen. However, the CWGC database gives his unit as 11 Battalion DLI, Labour Corps, and that he died of pneumonia. He was the son of John and Clara Sinclair and the husband of Alice Sinclair of 9 Aiskell Street, Millfield, Sunderland. He is not listed on ‘Soldiers Died’. In the 1911 Census he was still single, living with his parents at 13 Burnaby Street, Sunderland and working as a lamp attendant at an electric works. His service records have not survived, but his medal index card indicates that he originally served with DLI, but not before 1916, as 46369, and later as 471384 in the Labour Corps.
Lance Corporal 12949 John Skillcorn, aged 22, died of wounds 10 March 1917, and is buried Guillemont Road Cemetery, Guillemont.
He attested in Sunderland 24 August 1914, aged 20 yrs 1 months, miner. He had been born Coal Centre, Fate City, Pennsylvania, USA but was a British citizen. He had previously applied and been rejected as unfit by army, but was accepted without problem this time. He was 5ft 8¼, 142lbs, 34½ in chest, dark complexion, blue eyes, dark brown hair, C of E. He was the only child of John Skillcorn of 15 Holyoake St, Pelton Lane End, Pelton.
He was allocated to 11 DLI. There were a number of misdemeanours during training. At Pirbright on 7 January 1915 he was absent from tattoo and admonished. At Lark Hill on 9 April 1915 he lost a day’s pay and got FP No 2 for failing to obey an NCO. Again at Lark Hill on the following day he lost 8 days’ pay for the same offence. Nevertheless on 11 July 1915 he was made Acting Lance Corporal and, while in France on 2 August 1916 confirmed as Lance Corporal.
On 20 October 1916 he was admitted to 14 CRS with scabies, returning to duty 28 October 1916. From 10-20 December 1916 he was on leave to England. While home on leave he was taken ill and on 23 December 1916 he was admitted to Norther General Hospital, Newcastle until 3 January 1917 with tonsilitis and quinsey. This occasioned correspondence to York Records Office from the unit questioning his absence. Shortly after returning to his unit, on 10 March 1917 he was admitted to 60 Field Ambualnce where he died of wounds. He was serving with A Company. The battalion were then stationed near Montauban on working parties when they came under shell fire and a signal dugout was blown in.
A substantial number of personal items were returned: disc, letters, photos, postcards, pipe, watch, strap, carved farthing, cap badge, handkerchief, tin tobacco, leather strap, wristwatch and strap.