Names Br to Bz

Bradley, Frederick Charles

Private 76898 Frederick Charles Bradley, aged 32, from Lyminge, Kent, died of wounds and is commemorated on the Cambrai Memorial, Louverval.

Bradley was a skilled bricklayer from 4 Robus Terrace, Lyminge, Kent. He attested at Gillingham on 3 December 1915. He was aged 32 and had served four years with the Territorials. He was assigned to Royal Engineers, Kent Fortress Company with the regimental number 542076. He was 5ft 6in, 36 in chest and Cof E. He was skill tested by Charles D Jerman, builder, 53 Broadmead Road, Folkestone (probably his employer) and awarded additional pay on that basis.

He was transferred to the DLI on 20 April 1916 and then drafted to 11 DLI, but on his existing rate of pay. He embarked Folkestone 17 September 1917 and joined 11 DLI on 1 October, serving with A Company. He was reported missing on 30 November 1917 following the German counter-attack at Cambrai. What exactly happened is unclear, but he was reported wounded and missing and finally listed from 1 February 1918 as ‘died whilst in German hands on or since 30 November 1917’. Information from the Red Cross was given in a German official list of 25 January 1918 and his disc was forwarded.

He left a widow Rosina Bradley of 50 Granfield Street, Bridge Road West, Battersea, SW11 (in 1919), with two children, Bessie Ellen (31/07/1914) and Edith Florence Freda (30/04/1916). His parents were Frederick and Elizabeth Bradley of 43 Bramerton St, Kings Road, Chelsea and he had two sisters. His wife had been allotted 31/6 pay but this was reduced to 25/5 pension, a significant reduction from his previous skill enhanced pay.

Brady, John [alias Farrell]

Private John Brady, real name Farrell, was born Renfrew, Scotland and attested in London on 1 September 1914 aged 20. He was 5ft 9 3/4in tall, 140lbs, 37 in chest, very good physical development, fresh complexion, grey eyes, and brown hair. He was Roman Catholic and gave his father’s name as James Farrell Brady. The reasons for the deception are made clear by later correspondence following his death. His mother explained that he had previously tried to enlist in the Scots Guards but, after joining his regiment at Caterham, was later found to have a mis-shapen toe and was rejected as unfit for a Guards Regiment. He proceeded to London, where he enlisted in the Duke of Cornwall’s Light Infantry.

In the first instance he was assigned to the 7th DCLI, which was part of 20th Division. He was transferred, presumably because of his trade skills, to 11 DLI when the latter were assigned as Pioneers to the Division. His conduct during training was less than perfect with either battalion.

With 7 DCLI he was AWOL from Lakerman Camp, Woking, 21-11-1914 to 25-11-1914, for which he was admonished by Captain Peel. On 3 December at Pirbright he was accused of refusing to obey an order and ‘making an improper reply to an NCO’, reported by Sgt Ricketts and Cpl Sidwell. The latter offence was crossed out and then reinstated. One can imagine what the improper reply was and that Brady was not inclined to apologize. Captain Lewis fined him 15 days pay.

Shortly afterwards he was transferred to 11 DLI, regimental number 21547. On 16 February 1915 he was absent off parade at Pirbright and admonished by Capt Collins. On 20 February he was absent from tattoo until 21 February and was given 2 days CB and 2 days loss of pay. At North Chapel on 5 March he was drunk and creating a disturbance for which he was given 7 days FP2 and lost 7 days pay. At Lark Hill on 25 April he was absent off church parade and given 7 days CB. On 27 May he was absent from tattoo until 28 May and awarded 16 days FP2 and loss of 3 days pay. While still undergoing FP2 on 3 June 1915 he was ‘found in canteen when a defaulter’ and ‘stating a falsehood to an NCO’ for which he was given 7 days CB. On his service sheet he was also noted as absent from 21 to 28 June 1915.

In July the battalion went overseas. He died of wounds on 13 March 1916, while serving with B Company. At the time, the battalion were based at Elverdinghe Chateau and were under frequent shelling, both in their billets and at work in the trenches. The latter had been badly damaged by rain and frost and repairing this was the main activity.

Records dated 12 Aug 1918 indicate that his father had died and his next of kin was his mother Catherine Farrell. He had a brother Thomas (20) and sisters Katey (28), May (27) and Lily (12). Mrs Farrell was paid 9/- separation allowance and 3/6 allotment of pay (12/6 weekly in all).

In the surviving papers are several letters from his mother Kate Farrell and these provide the fascinating background to Brady/Farrell’s service described above, as well as indicating her own indomitable character.

On 6 April 1916 she wrote to the Paymaster: ‘Dear Sir, I received your letter this morning and am very grateful to you for your kindness in replying to mine. While my son 21546 John Brady was home on leave he’s spoken of the Brothers O’Neil, one a Sergeant, also one Gibson who were in his Company. He had a photo of the group 8th Platoon ‘B’ Company and they were in it. Would it be too much to ask from you if you could give me the number of any one of these so that I might write and see if I could get any further news, failing them could I get the name of the Sergeant Major of his Company. I am sorry to give you any trouble but surely you won’t blame a poor mother. Yours respectfully, Kate Farrell. I enclose 2 stamps that will pay for the last letter.’

In the original letter, requesting the name of an officer in his company, she had written ‘it is very hard to get only the bare intimation after my son has been in France for eight months. I would value very much any news as he wrote me a letter on the day he died’. She also mentioned that his father had died eight months previously (1915). Kate Farrell was clearly both literate and articulate and knew well how to influence people. It would stand her in good stead when she came to try to correct the records in relation to her son’s false name on gravestones, plaques and certificates.

Her first success was the Imperial War Graves Commission who agreed on 28 June 1919 to inscribe the headstone ‘John Farrell (served as John Brady)’. She was having greater difficulty with the York Record Office regarding the scroll and plaque. A letter from her on 11 August 1919 pointed out that ‘the Imperial War Graves Commission have sanctioned his own surname to be put on his headstone in France. Surely it is not asking too much for the same to be done for his scroll and plaque.’ They did not immediately relent, despite the precedent set by the IWGC. She wrote again on 17 December 1919- ‘it is hard that a mother should lose two dead sons in the war and yet when she asks a small favour such as changing one word it is denied her’ and threatened to write to the Edinburgh MP, Mr Hogge – ‘he is very good at helping poor folk.’ Finally on 16 June 1920 it was agreed that the scroll would be re-inscribed ‘John Farrell (served as John Brady)’. By this stage Kate Farrell was trying to get the same result in relation to the medals, such as the 1914-15 Star. (letter dated 12 May 1920 copied, as it explains the full story). One has to admire the persistence of this strong-minded lady in the face of official military bureaucracy.

The second son who died was Private 18541 James Farrell, aged 20, of the 8th Battalion, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers. He was killed in action 9 September 1916 and is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial. The battalion were serving with the 49th Brigade, 16th (Irish) Division in the Battle of Ginchy. They had previously helped in the capture of Guillemont, alongside 11th DLI, James’ brother’s former regiment.

Briscoe, James Henry

Acting Lance Corporal 25209 James Henry Briscoe, aged 32, from West Hartlepool, died of wounds, 6 November 1915, and is buried in the Sailly-sur-la-Lys Canadian Cemetery. He was the son of Mrs Jane E Briscoe and the late John Briscoe, and the husband of Jane R Henison (formerly Briscoe) of 19 Seamer Street, West Hartlepool. His service records have not survived.

His former wife, Jane, was re-married but still living in the family home they occupied in 1911, at the time of the census. James was then aged 27 and a blast furnace worker. His wife was 28 and they had been married for six years, with two daughters, Jane (5) and Myra (3). They may have had more children before James enlisted. His regimental number may possibly indicate that he did not enlist in the first wave of 1914-15, but may have enlisted under the Derby scheme before the end of 1915. His time at the front was, in any case, rather short.

The Pioneer battalion arrived in France 21 July 1915. In November 1915 they were still at their first area of posting on the Laventie Front. Throughout the first week of November they were billeted at Rue du Paradis, but from 2-6 November they were acting as conventional infantry in the front line trenches ‘Tilleloy Street’ to ‘Winchester Road’, providing relief to 12 King’s Royal Rifle Corps. Briscoe was probably wounded as a result of exchanges of shell fire or sniper fire.

Broughton, James

Private 12199 James Broughton was killed in action, 7 October 1916. He has no known grave and is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial.

A Middlesbrough lad aged 19, James Broughton attested 26 August 1914. He was a bricklayer’s labourer by trade, 5ft 8¼in 123lbs, 35½in chest. He was sent to 11 DLI, and served with C Company. Born August 1895, he was the son of Mr Jonathan Broughton of 31 Graham St, Middlesbrough, to whom his personal effects were sent 3 March 1917.

During training at Pirbright there was one slight misdemeanour, overstaying a pass from midnight to 7.45am on 4 January 1915, for which he was given 5 days CB and given 3 days ‘R.W. duty’, which probably meant some kind of unwelcome work. While out in France on 28 June 1916 he was fined 10/- and lost a day’s pay for some unspecified misbehaviour in his billet.

The first week of October 1916 was a costly period for 11 DLI. They had come through some fierce battles and Pioneer work under constant fire, during the capture of Guillemont four weeks before and the steady advances thereafter. They were working on developing new trenches and dugouts seized from the Germans (Tatler Trench is named in the battalion war diary), under constant heavy artillery fire and gas shells. The battalion was already reduced to half its size and suffered further steady attrition during this week. At least ten were killed, including Broughton, and more than thirty wounded.

Browes, Horace

Private 25254 Horace Browes, aged 23, died of wounds 4 December 1917, and is buried at Tincourt New British Cemetery. Born in Sheffield and described as still living in Meersbrook, a Sheffield suburb, Browes enlisted in Ferryhill.

He is described as the son of Edward and Mary Ann Browes of Sheffield, though neither of these people is evident in the 1911 census. At that time, Horace was aged 16, working as a pony driver, and living at 18 Daniel Hill Street, Sheffield, described as a ‘visitor’ to the household. The householders were John William and Annie Maria Peacock, both aged 32, but there were also two young children, Reginald (3) and Kitty (1) Browes, described as son and daughter. It is a peculiar household set-up. Horace likely travelled to Ferryhill and may have worked in a local colliery working with pit ponies. Unfortunately his service records have not survived.

Horace was wounded during the German counter-attack at Cambrai. 11 DLI were holding trenches on Borderer Ridge from 1-3 December, under heavy fire, and some 32 men were wounded and one killed.

Brown, Francis

Private 14966 Francis Brown, aged 23, died of wounds, 4 September 1916, and was buried at Corbie Communal Cemetery Extension.

Brown was a Darlington man by birth (St James parish), but attested at West Hartlepool 29 August 1914, aged 21 yrs 181 days, a boiler fireman by trade. He was 5ft 4½in tall, 130lbs, 36in chest, dark complexion, dark brown eyes and hair, C of E. His father was Charles Brown of 30 Faulder St, West Hartlepool and his mother Mrs Eliza Brown. He was unmarried and had four brothers and a married sister.

Brown was assigned to 11 DLI. During training at Pirbright he was caught by Sgt Spalding having overstayed his pass from 12 midnight until 9.20 am on 1 January 1915 and Capt HP Lloyd fined him a day’s pay. He went out to France with the battalion on 20 July 1915. He wrote his will on 6 September 1915, leaving everything to his mother. She was also assigned a separation allowance of 4s 3d and an allotment of pay of 3s 6d (7s 9d altogether).

From 27 May 1916 to 12 July 1916, Brown was in the monastery hospital at Wincanton suffering with myalgia, a period of 47 days. Myalgia is chronic muscle pain and fatigue, sometimes of a rheumatic nature and nowadays often associated with chronic fatigue syndrome and repetitive strain injury. Once recovered he was returned to his unit, serving with C Company. He died of wounds on 4 September 1916, on the second day of the battle to capture the village of Guillemont. His effects were sent to his mother on 24 Feb 1917

Brown, George

Private 14964 George Brown, aged 24, died of wounds, 25 March 1918, and is buried at St Sever Cemetery Extension, Rouen. Brown was a coal miner and attested at West Hartlepool on 31 August 1914 aged 19 yrs 104 days. He was born Monk Hesledon, Castle Eden, Co Durham. Initially he was attached to 3rd DLI (1 September 1914) before being sent on for training with 16th DLI, 26 October 1914. He was 5ft 5½in tall, 138lbs, 36 in chest, and had dark brown hair and blue eyes. He had scars on the back of his left hand and on his left shin. At the time his parents were living at 28 Back George Street, Spennymoor. He had 6 brothers and 3 sisters, but his mother was dead. [There is some confusing paperwork referring to a Pte G Brown, reg no 12649, mixed in with these records].

Among the surviving papers is a letter from Brown’s father, date-stamped York 10 October 1916 (the regimental number he quotes is incorrect):

Dear Sir, I wish to explain to you that I have three sons serving the colours. Pte Joseph Brown is the oldest and as got married a fortnight before he went to the front and the second is Pte George Brown Reg No 19464, 16 Battalion DLI France, third Pte Thomas Brown Reg No 25093 17 Batt DLI, Penkridge Bank Camp near Stafford No 8 hut,

Yours truly, Thomas Brown, No 6 Armstrong St, Hesledon, near Castle Eden

While training with 16 DLI he went absent from 24-30 April 1915. Surviving records are confusing as to when he went out to join 11 DLI, as there are two medal index cards for a George Brown, DLI, with the same regimental number. Of the two, the one who did not survive went to France on 25 August 1915, a time when reinforcements from 16 DLI were arriving in batches. He was certainly serving with D Company in 1916. On 3 July 1916 he reported to 61 FA with scabies, returning to unit 9 July. He reported an inflamed left knee joint on 21 July. He was fined 3 days pay on 12 August 1916 for being late back (not clear from where, but probably a day pass). On 21 September 1916 he reported to the NZ FA with a problem with his right knee and on 29 September was sent back to 35 IBD at Étaples. He eventually rejoined his unit on 9 October.

On 26 February 1917 he suffered an injury to his left hand, which became the subject of a court of inquiry. The court was led by Captain C Palmer, supported by 2 Lt AM Lascelles [who later won the VC serving with another DLI battalion] and 2 Lt DJ Rees, and was held at Bus on 4 April 1917. There is part of a surviving witness statement from 11591 Pte Michael Hennessey. On 25 February 1917 he was working in a new trench near Le Transloy at night. Pte Brown was working next to him. As Brown brought his shovel back, Hennessey was also bringing his pick up and hit Brown on the back of the hand. The court reported to A/Lt Col Hayes who decided that it was accidental. The MO reported that, although serious, the injury would not interfere with Brown’s future efficiency as a soldier.

He was still at 14 CRS on 16 March 1917, before being sent on 18 April to 35 IBD Étaples. He returned to his unit on 11 May and was allowed home on leave from 8-18 July 1917. He was wounded in the abdomen during the March Retreat, dying  while being treated with 14 Ambulance Train on 25 March 1918. After the war his medals went to his father at Hesledon.

Brown, George

Sergeant 3/11449 George Brown was a miner from Birtley and a former regular soldier with 1 DLI. He enlisted, aged 41years and 29 days, on 8 September 1914, though he was not finally admitted intil 17 September. Concern about his age was outweighed by the need for men with military experience. He was appointed Lance Sergeant 23 September 1914 at Depot before transfer to 11 DLI. He was confirmed as Sergeant Bugler from 17 July 1915, shortly before the battalion went overseas. He returned to the UK, to the Depot, with effect from 18 October 1915. He was transferred with the same rank to 16 DLI Training Reserve Battalion on 30 December 1915. He was discharged 12 May 1916 suffering from shell shock. Survived the war.

At the time of his enlistment he was living at 5 Foreman’s Row, Birtley, Co Durham and was described as of good character. He was married to Jane (née Burn) at St Philip’s Church, Newcastle on 27 November 1895 and had five children born between 1900 and 1912: Annie, Elsie, Hilda, Jenny and Reginald. He was 5ft 4in, 130lbs with a chest of 36½ inches, fair complexion, blue eyes and dark auburn hair, C of E. [Details from pension records]

The date of his return to the UK falls shortly after 11 DLI spent a week in the trenches at Laventie, 7-14 October 1915. During that spell they were involved on 13 October in a ‘demonstration’ organised by 60 Brigade, as well as under constant inward bombardment of ‘shells and firing several hundred rounds a day’. The demonstration involved hoisting of dummies above the trench parapets under a smoke barrage to fake an attack. The German artillery replied with 1½ hours of bombardment during which three men were killed and fourteen wounded. Some 36000 rounds of ammunition were expended. It was a costly exercise to allow British artillery to pinpoint the position of German guns. George Brown almost certainly was caught up in these events.

Brown, James

Lance Corporal 15313 James Brown, aged 26, reported missing presumed killed in action, 27 March 1918, is commemorated on the Pozières Memorial.

Brown attested at Brandon Colliery on 28 August 1914. As seems to have been the practice here he amended the declaration to say that he would be discharged after 3 years if the war was not over:

‘For a term of three years, unless War lasts longer than three years, in which case you will be retained until the War is over. If employed with Hospitals, depôts of Mounted Units, and as Clerks etc,, you may be retained after the termination of hostilities until your services can be spared, but such retention shall in no case exceed six months.’ The portion struck through was replaced with the phrase: ‘If however the war is over in less than three years you will be discharged with all convenient speed’.

Brown had been born in Brandon and was aged 22 yrs 11 mths, a coal miner. He had previously served five years as a Territorial. Despite this past service it was not until 23 June 1916 that he was appointed paid Lance Corporal. He was 5ft 4½in tall, 137lbs, 35½in chest, pale complexion, brown eyes and hair and professed C of E.

His family consisted of father Robert Brown of 6 College Terrace, Brandon Colliery, mother Mary, five brothers and two sisters. He was posted direct to 11 DLI and went out to France on 20 July 1915. On 20 September 1915 he was deprived of four days pay (reason not stated in records, but this punishment usually involved absence). On 23 June 1916 he was appointed Lance Corporal. From 28 November to 7 December 1916 he went home on leave, and again 27 December 1917 to 10 Jan 1918.

Brown was serving with B Company and was killed in action on 27 March 1918, at which time 11 DLI were defending the village of Arvillers during the March Retreat.

Brown, Joseph

Private 17222 Joseph Brown enlisted West Hartlepool 30 August 1914. He had married Mary Edith (née Smith) on 10 August 1915, before going out to France. They lived at 34 Lishmans Buildings, Sidegate, Durham. He initially trained with 16/17 DLI and went out to join 11 DLI in France 25 August 1915. He survived the war.

The information about his service appears by chance on a document from Infantry Records, York, trying to clarify his regimental number in relation to that of Private 18420 Joseph Brown (see below).

Brown, Joseph

Private 18420 Joseph Brown, aged 24, was killed in action 18 September 1916 and is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial.

Brown attested at Houghton le Spring on 17 August 1914, aged 21 yrs and 1 month. He had previously served with 8 DLI, having terminated his engagement. He was a miner living at 63 Quarry Row, Houghton le Spring with his parents Joseph and Margaret. He had an older brother John and a sister Martha who married later in the war period (Laidler). He was 5ft 8in tall, weighed 148lbs and had a 36½in chest, fresh complexion, grey eyes and light brown hair. He was C of E.

His early conduct was not exemplary. During training he was several times in trouble. At Pirbright on 29 November 1914 he was absent from Tattoo Roll Call until 4.30pm and received 3 days CB. He repeated the offence on 3 December up to 10 am and got the same punishment. On 28 December he was absent off pass from 12 midnight to 3 am on 29 December and this time was given five days CB and lost three days pay.  On 8 January 1915 he was awarded 14 days Field Punishment No 2 for refusing to obey an order, and lost 14 days pay as well. Despite the constant punishment he was was awarded another 4 days CB at Larkhill on 9 May 1915 for inattention on parade.

He went out to France with the battalion in July 1915, but was only away for a few months. He reported sick to 60 FA on 13 December 1915 with dental caries. It was severe enough for him to be sent on to CCS 7 and then back to England for treatment. He did not return to his unit until 25 April 1916.

He was killed in action on 18 September 1916, when the battalion was in the Bernafay Wood area. In the period after the capture of Guillemont, they were severely depleted (down to less than half a battalion), and were working night and day consolidating new assembly trenches for further assaults just west of Lesbeoufs. A further nine men were wounded that day.

As he was not the only one of this name there was some confusion, which was cleared up by a letter from Infantry Records, York (see above).

Brumby, John O

Private 77396 John O. Brumby’s medal index card indicates enlistment on 22 August 1916 and discharge on 31 January 1919, from which it can be deduced that he was a conscript and survived the war. His service records have not survived and he cannot be traced definitively in the 1911 Census. It is probably John Oswald Brumby, born Oct-Dec 1898 in Spilsby, Lincolnshire.

Brydon, Ernest

Private 13952 Enest Brydon, was reported missing in action 26 March 1918 and is commemorated on the Pozières Memorial.

Born St Andrews, Stanley, Co Durham, Brydon was a miner aged 27 yrs and 3 months when he attested at Stanley on 29 August 1914. He was 5ft 4in, 128lbs, 35in chest, sallow complexion, blue eyes, brown hair and C of E. He had a tattoo on the back of his left forearm, a heart and a line underneath.

He was posted immediately to 11 DLI, attached no 8 Platoon, B Company, and was occasionally in trouble while in training.

2/10/1914 Woking: drunk in camp 9.15pm and using obscene language to an NCO – docked 2 days’ pay.

22/3/1915 North Chapel: absent off 7.30 parade – 3days CB, 2 extra (indistinct)

18/4/1915 Lark Hill: absent off church parade – 3 days CB

He went out to France with the battalion on 20 July 1915. He was admitted to 26 FA on 9 August 1915 with an ulcerated heel, rejoining the unit on 16 August. He was on leave to England from 11-21 Jan 1917. He was reported missing on 26 March 1918 when the battalion were in desperate retreat in the Nesle area, during the German Spring Offensive.

His wife, Mrs Thomasina Brydon, of 10 Woodbine Terrace, Annfield Plain, wrote in April 1918: “In reference to my husband Private E Brydon 13952 Machine Gun Section B Company 11th Durham Light Infantry Pioneers who is now serving in France. I wish to state that it is now over five weeks since I heard from him and as I am naturally anxious about him, I would be very thankful if you could furnish me with any information as to his condition and whereabouts, and avoid any further suspense at home. I am Sir, Yours faithfully, Mrs Thomasina Brydon.” A reply was sent (not in the surviving papers) which presumably told that he was missing. A further letter was sent to the wife on 26 October 1918 to see if she had received any news. There was none at that stage and it was presumed that he must be dead.

Mrs Brydon had received 28s separation allowance and pay, which was increased to 29s 7d pension with effect from 2 December 1918. This was to care for herself and three children, Lillian Gladys (b 15/11/07), Violet Mavis (b 3/4/10) and William Stephenson Brydon (b 17/5/13). Brydon also left a father, William; his mother was deceased; he had a brother Alfred and two married sisters.

A final letter was sent 26 March 1920 (the second anniversary of Brydon’s death) “that it must now be definitely accepted that the soldier was killed in action or died of wounds on or since 26.3.1918.” It would seem that the family had lived in hope of a miracle return and no reports had been received from the German authorities.

Buckle, Charles

Private 25775 Charles, was killed in action, 16 August 1917 and is buried at Bard Cottage Cemetery, Boezinge. He was born in Bishop Auckland, resident at Catchgate and enlisted at Consett. No family details appear in the CWGC records and his service papers have not survived. His medal index card indicates that he went overseas with the battalion on 20 July 1915.

During the first two weeks of August 1917, the battalion was working from the Yser Canal Bank area building communications networks (roads and railways) for the front in preparation for the assault on Langemarck and the Pilckem Ridge. They marched 14 miles a day to get to work and spent 6 hours working under constant fire. Buckle was killed a couple of days before the battalion was taken out of the line for a rest.

Busby, Arthur

Private 17492 Arthur Busby was reported missing in action, 28 March 1918, and is commemorated on the Pozières Memorial.

Busby was a miner, born Tudhoe, Spennymoor, aged 34 yrs 8 months and married, when he attested at Stanley on 29 August 1914. He was 5ft 3½in tall, 135lbs, 37in chest, sallow complexion, brown eyes, dark brown hair, C of E.

He was posted to 11 DLI for training with immediate effect and committed a couple of minor infringements of discipline.

26/12/1914    Pirbright: absent off pass midnight 26 till 11pm, given 3 days CB

24/5/1915      Lark Hill: overstaying pass from midnight until 9.30am 26/5/15, given 8 days FP 2 (noted on record to have 8 days deducted from pension calculation)

He went out to France with the battalion on 20 July 1915. There were some recorded health problems:

23/7/1916      PUO, to duty 24/7/1916

5/8/1916        20 DRS, myalgia to duty 8/8/1916

1/9/1916        Myalgia

4/10/1916      PUO, to duty

He went on leave to England from 15-25 August 1917.

On 28 March 1918 he was reported killed in action, serving with 5 Platoon, B Company. At the time the battalion were vacating the village of Arvillers to be replaced by French troops but came under heavy fire at the same time.

His widow, Mrs Hannah E Busby lived at 15 Langley Terrace, Annfield Plain, with children Andrew and Jane Annie. Busby also had a mother Jane, aged 74. His wife had received 24s 6d pay allowance, now increased to 25s 5d pension from 4 November 1918.

Items returned to the widow were: pocket wallet, anchor with small thermometer, pair of glasses. This indicates that he received medical attention before having to be left behind in the chaos of the Retreat.

Bushell, Raymond

TNA reference: WO339/60723

Lieutenant Raymond Bushell served originally as private soldier with 21st Royal Fusiliers, before being commissioned to 11th DLI 19 September 1916. Lt Bushell survived the war, having spent time as a prisoner of war.

He originally attested for the Public School Battalion, Royal Fusiliers on 15 September 1914 at Harrogate. At the time he was living in Stamford, having been born in York, and was by trade an engineer, aged 20 years and 4 months. 5ft 7½in tall, 132lbs, 36in chest. His father was Harry Azlewood Bushell of Melton House, Holgate Hall, York.

He was assigned to 21st Battalion Royal Fusiliers and went overseas on 12 November 1915. He was quickly in hospital at St Omer, admitted with diarrhoea on 1 December 1915, until discharged from there on 13 December. On 24 March 1916 he returned to England to obtain a commission, training with No 1 Officers Cadet Battalion.

Following his commission on 4 August 1916 into DLI he was assigned to 11 DLI as 2nd Lieutenant on 19 September 1916. He went on leave from 26 December 1916 to 5 January 1917. He was treated for dental caries at NZ Field Hospital from 2 Feb 1917 to 14 Feb 1917. On 21 July 1917 he was attached to XIV Corps as ADLR. He was on leave again from 13 to 23 August 1917, but the leave was extended so that he could receive treatment for pyorrhoea. He rejoined the battalion on 28 September 1917. He was on leave for a third time from 5-19 January 1918, from where he went to Royal Engineers Base on 26 January attached to the School of Pioneers. He rejoined the battalion on 21 February 1918.

On 29 March 1918 he was reported wounded and missing. Notification was received on 19 July 1918 that he was a prisoner of war.

The surviving papers at the National Archives include an official statement by Bushell of the circumstances which led to his capture. The remnants of 20 Division, including 11 DLI, were ordered to recapture Mézières on 29 March 1918, after French forces had been driven out by the advancing Germans. He estimated that the battalion then consisted of about seven officers and seventy men. Bushell was given command of one officer and about twenty-five men of B Company. Emerging from a copse the unit was pinned down by heavy machine gun fire, about 50 yards from the Germans. They were forced to remain there waiting for the fire to subside, but the Germans outflanked them and the remnants of the party were forced to surrender.

On 19 December 1918 he returned to England via Leith. He was demobilised, resigning his commission on 12 February 1919, retaining the rank of Lieutenant. The reason he gave for his resignation was: ‘I occupy an important position as Manager of Agricultural Implement Works of the firm of Messrs H Bushell & Sons, York’. He stated that his father was now 60; that he had served 4½ years including 9 months as a PoW and his health was reduced.

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