Names Ca to Con

Cain, Robert

Private 12531, labourer from Monkwearmouth, killed in action 30 November 1917, buried Gouzeaucourt New British Cemetery. C Company – witness at the Bowlt Enquiry 4 August 1915 [see entry for Bowlt].

Cain was a former soldier, having spent a full 12 years with the DLI. In civilian life he was a labourer. Born Monkwearmouth, he attested at Sunderland on 11 August 1914 and was initially posted to 10 DLI, where he became Lance Corporal on 9 September before being posted on to 11 DLI. He was 5ft 8in, 154lbs, 37 in chest, fresh complexion, brown eyes, brown hair and C of E. He had married a widow, Elizabeth Thompson, 8 August 1908 in Sunderland and was father to her four children from the previous marriage, Lilian, Alice Jane, Margaret and George. They lived at 6 Rendlesham St, Monkwearmouth. She received 23s 0d in separation allowances.

Cain struggled to accept the responsibility of NCO rank. He was promoted A/Cpl on 24 Sept 1914, and despite 28 days detention in between, was made up to A/Sgt on 14 October 1914. He was twice pulled up at Lark Hill for neglect of duty when in charge of a hut (22 June 1915 – severely reprimanded) and neglect of duty when orderly Sergeant (3 July 1915) – after which he was reverted to A/Cpl. The battalion must have hoped for better things as he was immediately promoted Corporal. After service in France for a year he reverted to Private at his own request on 22 July 1916.

Health was also a problem. On 23 Oct 1915 he reported sick with dental caries and was treated in hospital until 10 Nov 1915. He was admitted 61 FA with ‘NYD’ (i.e not yet determined) on 14 December 1915 and by 17 December found himself in hospital in Versailles with contusion to the back, the effects of a fall, and emphysema. He returned to duty 2 January 1916. From 26 December 1916 to 5 January 1917 he was on leave in England. He reported sick with diarrhoea on 20 January 1917, back to duty by 1 February 1917. He was killed in action at Cambrai, 30 November 1917, when the German forces counter-attacked.

In  his will dated 9 October 1917, he left everything to his wife, who received his medals after the war. She was later informed that his remains had been disinterred and reburied at Gouzeaucourt New Cemetery.

Cameron, Alexander

Private 31157, aged 35, originally from Appleton Wiske, but enlisted Stanley, died post-war, 9 December 1918, buried Charmes Military Cemetery. Joined 11th DLI on 27 September 1916, but suffered a broken arm. Reported missing 21 March 1918, taken prisoner and died much later at Toul.

Cameron appears to have enlisted as part of the Derby scheme. He attested 2 December 1915, but was not mobilised until 21 March 1916. Born Appleton Wiske, North Yorkshire, he was 5ft 4in tall, 114lbs, 34½in chest and had artifical upper dentures. His father was John Cameron of 43 Tyerman St, Lingdale, Yorkshire. As at 23 August 1919, his mother was deceased, but he also had very young half-siblings – John 4 and Carol, 2, from his father’s second marriage.

He married Ethel Armstrong at Stanley Chapel, Shield Row on 6 July 1916 before Thomas H Berryman. His wife lived at Stanley House, West Stanley, Co Durham and their daughter Jean was born 1 May 1917.

Cameron was sent to join 11 DLI 27 September 1916. On 2 February 1917 he suffered a fractured arm, was sent to to 35 IBD at Étaples on 18 February and returned to his unit on 3 March 1917. He went home on leave from 12-26 December 1917.

He was one of the first casualties of the March Retreat, being reported missing on 21 March 1918. He died 9 December 1918 at Toul, as a prisoner of the Germans. He is buried at the Charmes Military Cemetery, Essegney, Vosges.

After a long period of enquiries, his widow was granted a pension of 20s 5d a week on 30 June 1919. His records include a long but virtually illegible list of his returned belongings among the papers sent home to his widow on 20 August 1919. There is also a letter from his widow date-stamped 9 April 1920 requesting the issue of two certificates of death. ‘Will you also send any photograph you may have of his grave, also is there any way in which I may join a party to go to France.’

Carlisle, Thomas Hamilton, DSO, MC

Thomas Hamilton Carlisle became CO of 11 DLI in the latter part of the war, from 14 August 1918 until disbandment of the battalion. While serving as a Temporary Lieutenant with 171st Mining Company, Royal Engineers on 12 September 1915, near Armentières, he rescued a man after an explosion, for which he was awarded the Military Cross.

Carr, John

Private 24736 John Carr, was born and enlisted Houghton-le-Spring. He was killed in action 10 March 1917, serving with A Company, and is buried at The Guards Cemetery, Lesboeufs. His service records have not survived, but his medal index card shows that he joined 11 DLI in France on 4 August 1915 as part of reinforcements arriving throughout the late summer. He was probably previously with 16 or 17 DLI, or had been with men held back from the original embarkation date.

On 10 March 1917, 11 DLI were based at Montauban, doing wiring and trench work, mostly at night. John Carr was killed when a signal dugout was hit by shellfire and blown in. Two more were badly wounded and one left suffering from shell shock.

Carthy, James [Alias, see Connfey]

Chadwick, Arthur Dyson

Private 36533, aged 33, died of wounds 21 February 1918, and is buried at Maroeuil British Cemetery. Although posted to 11th DLI on 27 October 1916, he was transferred to 18th DLI on 5 February 1918, C Company, and was wounded while serving with them, on 20 February 1918.

Chadwick was a housepainter from 1 Malt Kiln Cottage, Castleton, Lancs. Married, aged 30 years 11 months, he attested at Rochdale on 8 December 1915. He had no children and he and his wife Ellen (née Heaton, married St Luke’s Church, Rochdale 10 June 1908) lived with his parents, Andrew and Sarah Chadwick. he was 5ft 5½in tall, 34 in chest, weighed 119lbs.

He was called up and examined at Bury on 9 May 1916 (recorded artifical upper and lower dentures), sent to Newcastle on 22 June 1916 and posted to 3 DLI. Following training he was posted abroad on 11 October 1916, wrote a will leaving everything to his wife, and at Étaples on 27 October 1916 he was posted to 11 DLI. On 24 December 1916 he was admitted to CCS with diarrhoea and sent to No 1 Ambulance Train on 27 December. From 2 January 1917 he was at a convalescent depot (not clear if UK or France). Passing through 35 IBD Étaples on 22 February 1917 he was put through his paces and sent back to his unit on 3 March 1917. On 29 April 1917 he was admitted to 26 FA with contusion to his hand and was not back on duty until 18 June 1917. The battalion were doing road works in the Ruyaulcourt area, so the injury probably came from an accident.

On 5 February 1918 he was transferred to 18 DLI (possibly as part of a change of personnel selecting those best suited to Pioneer duties). He was wounded dangerously on 20 Feb 1918 and died the following day, serving with C Company, 18 DLI. The battalion were providing working parties and doing training in the area near Arleux.

His widow was awarded a pension of 13s 9d a week from 2 September 1918. The effects returned to her were ‘disc, letters, photos, pipe, cards, 2 pocket wallets, set of false teeth, gold ring (9 carat, broken) cap badge, shoulder title, tobacco pouch’. [One might speculate that the ring was broken the same time as he received the contusion to his hand]. 

Chadwick, R William

Sergeant 32879 R William Chadwick’s medal index card indicates service from enlistment on 9 December 1915 to discharge on 28 March 1919, from which it can be deduced that he survived the war and had probably enlisted under the Derby scheme. Nothing further is known.

Chapman, William Robert

Originally from Easington Lane, Chapman was a theological student from Manchester, and a Methodist. He volunteered in September 1915, despite exemption, joining the Royal Army Medical Corps in Sheffield. He served as a NCO on the Western Front until evacuated with trench fever in 1916. He returned to the Front after recovery and in December 1916 applied for a commission. Following training at Cookham Cadet School he was commissioned into the DLI, serving at the Front initially with 11 DLI during 1917. He was wounded by shell fire at Ypres and evacuated to the UK. He later served with 15 DLI and 12 DLI. He survived the war and served as a padre in WW2. [IWM, Oral History Interview, 7309]

Chipchase, Christopher John

Private 20/411, architect and surveyor aged 19 from Darlington, killed in action 21 December 1916, and is buried at A.I.F. Burial Ground, Flers.

The information about Chipchase is rather sparse. He enlisted at Darlington 2 October 1915 aged 19. He was an architect and surveyor, not married, and had previously served as a Territorial with 5 DLI but bought his discharge. He was 5ft 6in tall with a 37in chest. His father was John William Chipchase of the Alexander Hotel, Darlington, where he lived.

He was assigned to 20 (Wearside) DLI in the first instance and embarked with them via Le Havre on 5 May 1916. They were initially based at Strazeele for further training before going into the line on the Belgian border near Armentières. He was posted to England with 4 DLI on 1 September 1916, before being posted on to 11 DLI on 14 September 1916. The reasons behind these movements are not transparent from the records, but it is likely that he returned to England due to illness or injury and, following recovery, was re-assigned to the Pioneer Battalion. At the time of his return to England, 20 DLI were in the process of re-grouping before transferring to the Somme battlefields.

On 21 December 1916, when Chipchase was killed, 11 DLI were doing trench improvement work in the Intermediate line near Montauban. He was probably the victim of random shelling.

Chrissop, George

Private 475 George Chrissop originally served overseas from 26 December 1915 in the Balkans (Salonika), probably with 9th Battalion South Lancashire Regiment with the regimental number 63355. He may have been originally with the DLI Depot, and later transferred to 11 DLI. In the 1911 Census he is a coal miner hewer aged 31 living at 38 Albert Street, Brandon Colliery, Co Durham, with his wife Lavinia and four children.

Clark, Robert William

Private 85115, aged 19, from Hull, died at home, 14 July 1918, and is buried at Hull Northern Cemetery. Clark was a conscript, joined 11th DLI on 5 April 1918. Suffered gas shell burns to face, arms and back 8 July 1918 and died at Netley Hospital.

Clark was a conscript. He attested 1 May 1917 and was called up and assessed at City Hall, Hull on 7 August 1917. He was a crane driver,working for the North Eastern Railway Company, aged 18 yrs 1 months, 5ft 0½in tall, 30½in chest, 88lbs and was described as of poor physical development. His next of kin was given as his mother Elizabeth Clark.

He was trade tested as a crane driver at Woolwich on 6 August 1917, but failed the test, otherwise he might have worked on the docks in France. He was posted to 2nd TRB at Rugeley Camp on 27 October 1917, transferred to 52nd (Grad) Battalion DLI on 13 December 1917, and proceeded overseas from Stockton on 4 April 1918. He arrived in Boulogne via Folkestone on 5 April, to Étaples the following day. He was sent on immediately to join 11 DLI to replenish the depleted battalion.

A telegram was sent 8 July 1918 saying that he was ‘dangerously ill in Welsh Hospital, Netley with burns from gas shell’. This probably occurred on 3 July 1918, as the battalion war diary records that 19 men were gassed that day. The battalion were based near Carency on the Lens-Avion front. Clark’s medical report describes ‘gas burns face arms and back’. He died at the British Red Cross Hospital Netley on 14 July 1918 and a message was sent to his grandmother. His effects were sent to Elizabeth Clark, 70 Upper Accommodation Road, York Road, Leeds on 30 October 1918. She is described on the CWGC website as his mother.

Tracing Clark in the census has proved problematic. In 1901 he was with his parents, aged 1, in Hull. His parents were Robert William Clark aged 24 and Elizabeth Clark aged 20. In 1911, the most likely person is Robert William Clark, born in Hull, who was living, aged 12, with his grandfather Alexander Pye in Scarborough.

Clark, Thomas W

Private 19495 Thomas W Clark went out with either 14 or 15 DLI on 11 September 1915, and was later transferred to 11 DLI, probably at the time of 14 DLI was disbanded in February 1918. At the rank of Sergeant Thomas W Clark was mentioned in despatches, London Gazette 9 July 1919. He survived the war, discharged to Class Z reserve.

Clasper, Henry Andrew

Sergeant 11498 Henry Andrew Clasper, aged 30, died of wounds, 27 August 1916, and is buried at Bernafay Wood British Cemetery.

Clasper was a fireman, born Venerable Bede Parish, Gateshead, aged 27yrs 6 months when he attested in Newcastle 2 September 1914. He had previously been a regular soldier, having purchased his discharge from the 2nd Dorsetshire Regiment. He was 5ft 6 ¾ in, 127lbs, 34½in chest, grey eyes, light brown hair and C of E.

He was posted to 11 DLI, had a clean conduct sheet and went out to France with the battalion on 20 July 1915. He had gradually moved up through the ranks.

2/2/1915        Acting Lance Corporal

18/3/1915      Acting Corporal

18/3/1915      Promoted Corporal

24/4/1915      Acting Lance Sergeant (unpaid)

4/6/1915        Acting Lance Sergeant (paid)

He was promoted to Sergeant while in France, on 26 June 1916.

On 27 August 1916 he died of wounds. The battalion were working in the old German front line trenches on the Somme battelfield near Carnoy, repairing dugouts and making the trenches once more usable. They were involved in this work until rain intervened on 29 August, when the roads became impassable and any work was almost instantly destroyed.

The exact details of Clasper’s death were reported to his family by Pte Robert Bennett. Clasper was killed when his bivouac was hit by shellfire. Clasper was with D Company.

A letter was sent to his recorded next of kin, his sister Mary at 24 Lichfield St, Gateshead, but there was no reply. The War Office were able to contact his brother, J Clasper, 1a Exeter St Gateshead. Sergeant Clasper would appear to have been unmarried.

Clough, Ernest Rowan Butler

TNA Reference: WO339/19682

2nd Lieutenant Ernest Rowan Butler Clough, aged 22, died of wounds, 27 June 1916, and is buried at Brandhoek Military Cemetery, Vlamertinghe.

Clough was born 11 June 1894, the son of Lieutenant Colonel Alfred Herrick Butler Clough of the Royal Munster Fusiliers. He applied for a temporary commission in August 1914, supported by a certificate from London University dated 13 July 1912. He had gained a Second Division matriculation at the June examinations in English, Mathematics, Chemistry, French and Modern History. In his application he gave his preferences for service as 1. Pioneer Battalion, 2. The Worcesters, 3. The Devons. He was 5ft 9 ¾ ins, with a chest expanding from 37 to 39 inches and weighed 154lbs.

After training he was commissioned in the first instance to the 9th Devonshire Regiment, officially with them from 1 July 1915 to 31 March 1916. However, this is somewhat confusing, as service details clearly indicate that he was with 11 DLI when they went overseas.

He embarked on 20 July 1915 but did not experience the best of health. He was treated at 60th Field Ambulance in the field for dyspepsia, 28 December 1915. Two days later this had deteriorated to include jaundice and catarrh. On 15 January 1916 he was sent to the 2nd Red Cross Hospital, Rouen. On 26 January he was shipped back to England on the Hospital Ship St Andrew for treatment at the 1st Southern General Hospital, Birmingham. A letter dated 31 March 1916 from the Officer in Charge 16 Reserve Battalion Durham Light Infantry, Penkridge Camp, Rugeley attached him to 11 Durham Light Infantry. He was discharged as fit for duty 19 April 1916 and returned to the battalion 21 April 1916.

On 27 June 1916 he was treated at 60th Field Ambulance, dying of wounds received. The battalion war diary reports that he was killed by shrapnel on St Jean Road. The battalion were working on trench improvements in the Brandhoek sector in the Ypres Salient [Sheet 28 G12b]. He was the victim of the incessant German artillery fire that plagued the Salient.

The same day a telegram was sent to his father at The Grange, Alvestone, Gloucestershire, which stated baldly: “Deeply REGRET TO INFORM THAT 2 Lieut ERB Clough Durham Light Infantry Died of Wounds June 27th the Army Council Express their Sympathy”

Letters of administration for his estate were granted to his father for the sum of £154.14s.3d. Further correspondence involving the presentation of scroll and plaque was sent on 4 February 1919 to his father, then living at 2 Canynge Road, Clifton, Bristol.

The 1911 census records show Clough as a student aged 17, living at home with his family in The Grange, Alveston. Clough had been born in Ireland. The place of birth of other children gives an indication of how the family had travelled with the father on his various overseas postings, including Madras, India.

Clover, Ernest

Private 375902 Ernest Clover, was born and enlisted in Sheffield. He was reported missing in action, 22 March 1918, and is commemorated on the Pozières Memorial. Very little has survived from his service records and his medal index card provides no date information. He did not qualify for the 1914-15 Star. The small remnants from his service records indicate that he enlisted 10 January 1916 at Sheffield and was called up 23 June 1916 to Pontefract for the King Own Yorkshire Light Infantry. From there he was assigned on 28 June to 25 Provisional Battalion and 5 DLI. He was aged 18 years and 9 months at enlistment, 5 ft 6 ¼ in, with a 36 in chest and worked as a glazier. There are indications that he had suffered an accident in pursuit of his trade, as he had a long scar on his right arm and forearm and further scars on the loins. He lived at 2 Beeley Street, Sheffield and his next of kin was his father, William Clover. He was given the regimental number of 4913 in the first instance.

He was born 1897 [Apr-Jun, Ecclesall, 9c 444]. At the 1901 census he was aged 3, the youngest of a large family headed by William Clover, a 45 year old bricklayer, and his wife, Jane, 46, at 58 George Lane, Sheffield. The earliest he could have enlisted was 1915.

Coates, Alexander

Private 21944 Alexander Coates died of wounds, 10 November 1915, and is buried at Sailly-sur-la-Lys Canadian Cemetery.

Coates attested at Consett, 9 November 1914, aged 24 yrs 11 months, a miner born in Crook. He was 5ft 6½in tall, weighed 129lbs, had a 37in chest, sallow complexion, blue eyes, brown hair and professed C of E. His next of kin was his mother, Mrs Annie Coates of 4 Station Road, Lanchester. His soldier’s will, dated 11 August 1915, left all his personal effects to his mother. She had been awarded a separation allowance of 7s 1d plus an allotment of pay of 3s 6d.

Coates was assigned to 16 DLI for training with effect from 10 November 1914 and was eventually posted to 11 DLI on 4 August 1915, serving with A Company. He survived a little over 3 months, dying of wounds at 26 Field Ambulance on 10 November 1915.

The battalion were based in billets split between Épinette and La Flinque Farm, on the Laventie Front. Those at Épinette were hit by shellfire on 10 November 1915. Three men were killed instantly and seven wounded, Coates being one of two from the latter who died later.

Personal effects were sent to his mother 17 February 1916. By the end of the war both father and mother had died and the remaining effects and medals were sent to his younger brother, Joseph Coates, 2 The Square, Lanchester. There was an older brother and three married sisters. The medals arrived during 1920 and 1921.

Cole, James Sidney

Private 76788 James Sidney Cole died of wounds, 1 December 1917, and is buried at Rocquigny-Équancourt Road British Cemetery.

Although his address was 25 Cumberland Street, Gateshead, Cole wanted to join the Royal Engineers and went to enlist at Chatham on 22 November 1916. He was a plumber aged 18 yrs and 275 days, 5ft 9½in, 35½in chest, 138lbs, C of E. His father was Thomas William Cole, also of Gateshead.

Cole was trained at No 8 Depot Company, RE at Newark, with the regimental number 212328. He was awarded 7 days CB and lost 2 days pay for overstaying his pass from midnight 28 January 1917 to 3.55 am 30 January 1917 (27 hrs 55mins). He received dental treatment 8 May 1917.

He finally embarked from Folkestone on 17 September 1917, and was then assigned to 11 DLI rather than the Royal Engineers, joining his unit on 1 October 1917, with the regimental number 76788. He died from wounds at 21 CCS on 1 December 1917. There was no will. He had survived 76 days in France.

On 1 December 1917, the battalion were at Cambrai battling to hold back the German counter-attack since the day before. Although eventually successful in holding their line, the battalion lost large numbers of men. Cole was wounded during these events on either 31 November or 1 December 1917.

His private effects were sent to his mother Mrs Ellen Cole in Gateshead on 18 April 1918. they comprised: Testament, mirror in case, cigarette case, pipe, knife, cap badge, small wallet, pocket wallet, letters, photos, numeral, jug purse and strap, button, 2 celluloid discs. By this time his father was dead. He had a brother, aged 19 and a sister, aged 26.

Collings, Walter

Private 26760 Walter Collings’s medal index card indicates that he enlisted 4 July 1916 and was discharged 14 January 1919. Nothing further is known.

Collingwood, Alfred William

Private 376457 Alfred William Collingwood, aged 22, from Darlington, was reported missing in action 24 March 1918, and is commemorated on the Pozières Memorial. He was the son of William Collingwood of 30 Kitchener Street, Darlington. His service records have not survived, but his medal index card indicate that he was originally numbered 2521 and that his date of arrival in France was 17 April 1915. This would indicate that he originally served with either 1/6th or 1/7th Battalion DLI (Territorials) as part of the 50th Northumbrian Division. The likelihood is that, while serving with the Territorials he was wounded and returned to the UK and, after recovery, returned to the Front re-assigned to 11 DLI with a new regimental number. Another possibility is that his tour of duty as a Territorial expired and he re-enlisted.

In 1911 he was living in Darlington with his father, aged 15, having been born 1895 [Oct-Dec 1895 10a 21]. He would have been just old enough to enlist in 1914 and may have already enlisted in the Territorials prior to the outbreak of war. As a Darlington lad, he was most likely in 6th Battalion.

Collingwood, Harold Edwin

Private 85108 Harold Edwin Collingwood, aged 19, died at home, 19 October 1918, and is buried Nafferton All Saints New Churchyard.

Collingwood was a conscript, initially examined in May 1917 and called up at Beverley on 31 August 1917. He was 18 years old, 5ft 6 3/4in tall, 35 in chest, of good physical development, with a scar on his left calf. His next of kin was his mother Mary Collingwood of the Cycle Shop, Middle Street, Nafferton. He also had a father, Edwin, brother Sidney 12 and sisters Gladys 17 and Constance 15 (as of 16 October 1919). His mother was paid 6s 10d separation allowance.

He went to a Training Reserve Battalion on 19 September 1917 with the regimental number 776521, passing to 52nd (Grad) Battalion DLI on 13 December 1917 at Rugeley Camp. He proceeded overseas from Stockton on 4 April 1918, via Folkestone and Boulogne and Étaples, arriving there on 6 April. He was posted next day to 11 DLI to reinforce the battalion that had just been pulled out of the line, with the regimental number 85108.

On 27 May 1918 he was reported by 62 Field Ambulance as ‘gassed, shell’. There had been a night time gas attack affecting 11 DLI. In June 1918 he was sent home to Liverpool, Venice Street Auxiliary Hospital for treatment, where he stayed until September. He was fit enough to be granted furlough from 20-26 September 1918, but by 2 October 1918 he was being treated at the Military Hospital, Ripon still suffering the effects of gas. He developed broncho-pneumonia on 16 October 1918, dying three days later.

The medical case sheet (which indicates that he was attached to 7 DLI while at home) was written up by Captain E Wright, RAMC:

The a/m [above mentioned] man died from Influenza and Bronchopneumonia on 19-10-18. Death was attributable to infection on ordinary Military Service, and condition aggravated by shell gas poisoning on Active Service.

He had survived only a few weeks at the front.

Collins, Edward

Private 12934 Edward Collins, aged 46, died of wounds 5 April 1918, and is buried at Etretat Churchyard Extension.

Collins was originally from Barnsley and had been a regular soldier, serving with 2 DLI for two years until discharged on 31 July 1905. When he re-attested on 22 August 1914 at Newcastle on Tyne he was 38 yrs and 241 days old.

His wife was Matilda Louisa (née Fisk) of 11 Hemels Road, Walker Colliery, Newcastle. They had been married at Cleveland Church, Sunderland. They had four children, John James, Matilda Louisa, George and ‘Kate’. Sadly Catherine Collins died aged 8 on 20 October 1915 from an intestinal infection causing diarrhoea. When Collins signed up, his wife got a separation allowance of 28s 0d per week.

Collins was 5ft 8½in tall, 144lbs, 37in chest, with grey eyes and brown hair, professed C of E. For all his past military experience, Collins was no angel. On 14 September 1914 he received 7 days Field Punishment No 2 and was docked 10 days pay, charged that ‘when on active service, drunk about 9.40 when on police duty’. This was very much in the early days of training. On 15 March 1916, while in France, he was also awarded FP No 1, though this does not appear in the official Field General Courts Martial records and must have been awarded at battalion level.

Collins was on leave to England twice, from 27 April to 7 May 1917 and from 6-20 February 1918. While serving with D Company he died of wounds at No 1 (Presbyterian) USA Hospital on 5 April 1918. The hospital was based at Etretat, on the coast 28 miles north from le Havre. Though not specified, his death will have been from wounds received during the March Retreat, as the battalion was pulled out of the line on 1 April and sent behind the lines for rest and recuperation. A handful of survivors from D Company, Lt Cooper and four men re-joined the main battalion on 26 March 1918 after being separated during the retreat. Collins was likely wounded during actions after that day and shipped out through a Field Ambulance unit.

Mrs Collins was awarded a pension of 29/7 from 20 September 1918. On 5 August 1918 she was sent her husband’s personal effects consisting of ‘disc with card, 2 letters, 2 photos, pipe, leather letter case, belt, razor in case, shoulder title, South African medal ribbon, 2 addressed envelopes. She re-married, becoming Mrs M L Patrick. [The South African Medal ribbon is unusual, as it would indicate service in the Boer War].

Condon, Charles

Private 33038 Charles Condon enlisted 11 December 1915 and was discharged 2 July 1918. He was issued with a Silver War Badge, which indicates that he was wounded before discharge, at which time he was aged 32. He may have been the Charles Condon aged 24 in 1911, a tailor by trade, living in with the Hull family at Etherley Dene, Bishop Auckland.

Connelly, George Arnold

Private 53556 George Arnold Connelly, aged 31, was killed in action, 25 May 1917, and is buried at Vraucourt Copse Cemetery, Vaulx-Vraucourt.

Connelly was not a Durham man. He was born in Hackney in Middlesex . He enlisted on 10 November 1915, when he was living at 29 St George’s Road, Leyton. Aged 29 yrs 6 months, an unmarried labourer, he lived with his mother, Alice Connelly. He was 5ft 5in, 40½ in chest, fresh complexion, with brown eyes and hair. On his medical examination it was remarked that he had a ‘partial right inguinal hernia and was somewhat obese’ with flat feet and badly shaped teeth. Though hardly a sign of any great fitness, these were classed as slight defects and no obstacle to his enlistment. He was mobilised 6 May 1916, was with 18th TRB from 28 September 1916, proceeding to 35 IBD Étaples on 27 December 1916. He was assigned from there to 11 DLI, which he joined 22 January 1917.

He lasted a little over four months, being killed in action on 25 May 1917 while serving with A Company. At the time, 11 DLI were in the Bancourt area. As well as providing relief for the 5th Australian IF in the line, they were heavily involved in tunnelling, mining, trench repairs, laying narrow gauge railways and building dugouts. Connelly was most likely to have been the victim of the everyday hazard of shellfire.

His personal effects were returned on 25 October 1917 and consisted of: disc, photos, cards, letter, silver watch no 101684, comb in case, diary, 2 razors and cases, mirror, tobacco box, fountain pen, corkscrew, spring clip, tobacco pouch, pencil, key, coin and linen bag. They had been left to his mother in a will dated 29 December 1916.

From later correspondence in his service records, it transpires his family comprised parents Thomas and Alice Violet Connelly, three brothers and four married sisters. His brother John was serving on HMS Europa in Palestine.

Connfey, James (served as James Carthy)

Private 25211 James Connfey, aged 38, from Sunderland, died of wounds, 13 February 1917, and is buried at Boisguillaume Communal Cemetery. He was the son of Sarah and the late John Connfey of 21 Sussex Street, Sunderland. His service records have not survived, so there is no indication as to why her served under the name Carthy. His medal index card is in the name of Carthy and indicates that he went out with 11 DLI on 20 July 1915.

On 13 February 1917, 11 DLI were serving in the line near Méaulte, but each company was in a different section: A at Guillemont, B at Hogsback, C at Sunken Road and D split between the latter two. Carthy/Connfey could have died at any of these locations. The battalion were creating dugouts and saps, laying duck walks, erecting camouflage screens, shelters and knife rests and laying signal cable. He probably died from shell or sniper fire.

Connolly, Patrick

Private 16202 Patrick Connolly died of wounds, 5 September 1916, and is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial. Connolly was an Irishman from Kilkenny. He signed up at Newcastle on Tyne on 30 August 1915. A labourer aged 27 yrs and 349 days, he was 5ft 3½in tall, weighed 128lbs, and had a 36½in chest. His short army career is something of an enigma and presents his life in the same light. Despite being a volunteer, Connolly’s conduct both during training and in France was possibly the worst in the battalion. His conduct sheet runs to several pages.


19 Dec to 27 Dec 1914 he went absent without leave, given 10 days CB and fined 8 days pay.

15 Feb 1915 absent from parade and awarded 7 days CB

17 Feb 1915 absent from parade and awarded 7 days CB

North Chapel

20 March 1915 drunk and creating a disturbance, 7 days FP No2 and loss of 7 days pay.

22 March 1915 again deprived 7 days pay


4 April 1915 absent from quarters, 10 days FP No2, 10 days loss of pay and fined 2/6

14 April 1915 breaking out of camp when a defaulter, sent to District Court Martial where Captain Hayes awarded him 56 days detention (19 May 1915)

9 July 1915 to 15 July 1915 absent again and awarded 7 days FP no 2 and loss of 7 days pay.


8 March 1916, fined 10/- and 14 days FP No 1, reason not recorded

8 April 1916, fined 10/- and awarded 20 days FP No 1, reason not recorded

27 August 1916, 7 days FP No 2, reason not recorded

On 14 July 1916 Connelly reported sick to 62 FA with dental caries, and was referred again on 29 July 1916 to 50 CCS with the same problem, and again on 19 August 1916 – on the last occasion being sent straight back to his unit. Compared with the treatment received by other complainants with this problem, many of whom were sent back to England for treatment, he seems to have been regarded as swinging the lead. His blighted career came to an abrupt end when he died of wounds a few weeks later on 5 September 1916 while serving with A company.

Tracing his family proved difficult. Letters to Mr M Connolly at 42 Patrick St Kilkenny were returned ‘no trace’ and none of the forms filled in. Eventually his ‘small book’ turned up containing a will leaving his personal effects to the wife of 23317 Pte W J Redler, of Whymple, Exeter. She signed for the receipt of two discs only. The fate of the medals is not recorded.


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