The National Commemoration of the Centenary of the Gallipoli Campaign 25 April 2015

cenotaph before

What a difference a day made! On Saturday morning 25 April (ANZAC Day) it was pouring with rain as we made our way to Whitehall where we were attending The National Commemoration of the Centenary of the Gallipoli Campaign and ANZAC Day.

order of service

There we are at the bottom of the page!

You may remember that I did some research to find out more about the life and death of my great uncle, Marshall Howman, who was killed at Gallipoli on 21st August 2015. The Gallipoli Association very kindly supplied me with relevant information and I decided to sign up and support them. Through the Association we received an invitation to join the proceedings, in a specially reserved area for Gallipoli Descendants.

We arrived early and  after passing through tight security secured for ourselves (me, my sister and our Australian friend, Ann) a pretty good position within the Descendants Viewing Area. We stood immediately behind the limited seating and right by the Cenotaph itself with a view of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office door and red carpet and had a diagonal view of the Royals. That was about 9am. Gradually the rain stopped altogether and we managed to dry out.

There was plenty going on and it was interesting to see one of these events from behind the scenes. Eventually Guards with busbies stood in front of us; but I could still just about see most of what was going on.

not a bad view

Not a Bad View

Dan Snow

Dan Snow (BBC) ready and waiting

Tree sculpture

If you look closely in the middle of the photo you can see the tree sculpture Gallipoli 1915 by Nadir Imamoglu. It’s a small-scale reproduction of one which forms part of the ‘Gallipoli 1915’ memorial at the National Arboretum in Staffordshire. The leafless branches symbolise the hands of soldiers on the beaches of the Gallipoli Peninsula, raised to distinguish them from their dead comrades. [From the Souvenir Brochure]

Bands arrive

The Military Bands Arrive

Just before 11 the Queen, the Duke of Edinburgh, Prince William and other VIPs – British, Australian, New Zealand, Turkish and representatives of many other other nations involved in the Gallipoli Campaign (and the sun!) came out. As Big Ben struck the hour we began a Two Minute Silence. This was followed by The Last Post, A Reading : For The Fallen by Lawrence Binyon :

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning,
We will remember them.

My view 2

And the Laying of Wreaths. A short service of readings, a hymn and national anthems then followed.

my view

After the Service there was a march past made up of representatives of UK and foreign forces and various associations including, of course, our own Gallipoli Association. When, as descendants, we were invited to join the Commemoration we were given the option to either attend the service or join the march past.

march past

The March Past

chelsea pensioners march past

Everyone Applauded the Chelsea Pensioners

Turkish air force band

The Turkish Air Force Band March Past

At home I recorded the BBC coverage of the morning and on Monday enjoyed watching in comfort the very moving and memorable event that I had witnessed at first hand on the Saturday.

Cameras behind us

Cameras at the ready!

http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b05sz6cp/world-war-one-remembered-gallipoli-episode-1

wellington barracks

At The Wellington Barracks, Birdcage Walk

After the Cenotaph Service members of the Gallipoli Association were invited to a Buffet Lunch at the Wellington Barracks. I was happy to meet other members and officers of the Association.

Cenotaph after

“We will remember them”

 

 

 

 

 

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Remembrance : Horsforth WW1 Trail

Trail leaflet

All round the country there are commemorations this year to honour those hundreds of thousands of men and women killed during the First World War. They range from the now very well-known, much-visited and publicised “Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red” [the ‘evolving installation marking the centenary of the outbreak of the First World War. Created by ceramic artist Paul Cummins, with setting by stage designer Tom Piper, 888,246 ceramic poppies progressively fill the Tower’s famous moat’] (here is what Lynne – alias Dovegreyreader – wrote about her visit to the Tower) to our very own local WW1 trail along the main thoroughfare of Horsforth near Leeds.

Trail Map

My neighbour and I followed the trail last Tuesday and on Saturday I visited the related Exhibition in the local church hall. Somehow even though I have lived here much longer than I ever lived in Norwich I don’t feel as attached to Horsforth as I do to the place where I grew up.

Horsforth Cenotaph

212 are named on the brass panels the men and one woman who died in the first world war . It cost £720 and was unveiled by The Lord of the Manor Montague Spencer-Stanhope on Saturday 11th March 1922. The lectern in front was built in 1953 to honour the men from Horsforth who died in World War II.

Horsforth Cemetery

 

Cemetery Board

However, the trail and boards are very well done and tell some very sad tales and, interestingly, one woman is commemorated which, I believe, was unusual for the time.

F;lorence Hogg

Nurse Florence Hogg

Serving as a nurse didn’t make a woman immune from the effects of war. Florence Hogg, who worked at Horsforth Laundry, died of the ‘flu that she caught at Berrington War Hospital in Shrewsbury from a soldier, wounded at the Front. The following month it killed her mother too. The ‘flu virus killed over 20 million in 1918 and 1919 – even more than died in the war itself.

Florence Hogg

Florence Hogg’s Commonwealth War Grave in Horsforth Cemetery

We know of six Horsforth men who were in the Gallipoli Campaign, three of whom were killed. Professional sailor, 25 year old Percival Rodgers was killed aboard a submarine that was torpedoed. Another regular, James Swailes, was shot in the head by a sniper. The third man from Horsforth who died was 39 year old, Harry Taylor, who emigrated to Australia in 1898 and served with the Australian army.

War Gallipoli

James Swailes

James Swailes killed in the Gallipoli Campaign

In addition to further information boards and displays of medals and other artefacts from the First World War at the Exhibition we were able to watch a half hour documentary programme recorded for TV and published on 1 Oct this year.

This documentary film travels around the Ypres (Ieper) area of Belgium looking at locations that Yorkshire troops were involved in. Geoff Druett is taken around by an official tour guide. They set-off in the square in front of Ypres Cloth Hall, go to Essex Farm and learn about John McCrae’s “In Flanders Field” poem; cross the Yser Canaal to the Yorkshire Trench. Across town they wander around Hill 60 and visit Tyne Cot. Back in Ypres, Geoff visits the English Memorial Church and the film ends with the nightly ceremony at the Menin Gate.
Music : “World War I In Poetry And Music” by David Moore, John McCormack, Robert Donat, Siegfried Sassoon

IN FLANDERS FIELDS POEM
The World’s Most Famous WAR MEMORIAL POEM
By Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae

Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place: and in the sky
The larks still bravely singing fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the dead: Short days ago,
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved: and now we lie
In Flanders fields!

Take up our quarrel with the foe
To you, from failing hands, we throw
The torch: be yours to hold it high
If ye break faith with us who die,
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields

Composed at the battlefront on May 3, 1915  during the second battle of Ypres, Belgium

Four Speakers at Felixstowe Book Festival

Felixstowe Book Festival

This annual event takes place on the last weekend of June each year. Well, I say each year but last year was the first and this year the second time that the event has been held. In 2013 I was in Switzerland but it sounded good from the reports so this year I combined a visit with family in Norwich with a weekend  of books at Felixstowe in Suffolk.

“A weekend by the sea for all who love to read”. I’m afraid the weather in Felixstowe on both days was appalling – constant rain almost throughout – but at least I wasn’t regretting being inside – although picnic lunch outside in the hotel garden and walk to see the sea might have been nice!

Last year a couple of book group friends attended and this year a couple more: me and Diney Costeloe. Elaine (Random Jottings), who lives at nearby Colchester has been one of the volunteer helpers each year.

Diney Costeloe is a member of our group and a published author. It’s hard to write about a talk given by someone you know and like and whose books you believe deserve much more attention than they have been given. This was her first book festival talk although she has done author signings and book group discussions. Diney chose to talk about her ‘writing story’ with humour and anecdotes but also adding some of the frustrating struggles authors face trying to get published these days. I’ve read all her books and they are gripping stories each one brings to our attention an often neglected aspect of the First or Second World War.

The Ashgrove

theashgrove

Eight ash trees were planted in 1921 as a memorial to the men from the village of Charlton Ambrose who were killed in World War One. Now the Ashgrove is under threat from developers, and the village is torn between the need for more housing and the wish to preserve the memorial. Rachel Elliott, a local journalist, is reporting the story and uncovers a mystery… eight men and nine trees – in whose memory is the ninth tree and who planted it? As she researches the memorial a diary and letters are given to her and as the story they tell unfolds Rachel discovers her own links with the past and with the Ashgrove itself and this makes her determined to save the Ashgrove as a memorial to all the men who lost their lives.

A fictional telling of the shooting for desertion in WW1.

Death’s Dark Vale

Death's Dark Vale

“When Adelaide Anson-Gravetty discovers she is not who she thought she was, her search for her true family leads her to the convent of Our Lady of Mercy in St Croix in northern France.

The defeat of France brings German occupation to the village, the nuns are caught up in a war that threatens both their beliefs and their lives. Involved with the resistance and British agents, Adelaide and the sisters truly walk in the shadow of death as they try to protect the innocent from the evil menace of the Nazi war machine.” [source]

Fiction on the theme of the wartime resistance movement in France and involvement of British agents.

Death’s Dark Vale has links to some of the characters in The Ashgrove but both books can be read independently. In fact I read them in the opposite ‘order’.

Evil on the Wind

Evil on the wind

“It is Germany 1937. Fear and betrayal stalk the streets. People disappear. Persecution of the Jews is a national pastime. Her home destroyed, her husband arrested by the SS after an anti-Jewish riot, Ruth Friedman is left to fend for herself and her four children. Homeless, she is forced to live on her wits to protect her family. She alone stands as their shield against the Nazis. Where should she go? What must she do? Is Kurt alive? Wherever she turns, Ruth is faced with indifference, hatred, cruelty. Living with the rising tyranny of the Nazis and their determination to make their Reich Jew Free, Ruth and her family run a desperate race to escape the Nazi terror as it marches inexorably to its ‘final solution’ of the Jewish Problem.”

About the Kindertransport mission before war was declared on Germany.

One of the Festival themes was The First World War so I was interested to hear Jeff Taylor talk about The First World War in East Anglian Fiction. Like Jeff I’m interested in place in fiction. Here is what the Festival Guide says about Jeff and his theme:

“The First World War had a presence in East Anglian fiction almost as soon as the war began and this continues into the present day. From the work of H.G.Wells through to that of children’s author Michael Foreman, Jeff will summon a roll-call of imagined characters who reflect the reality of the time. Jeff wrote a long-running column on East Anglia’s rich literary heritage in the Eastern daily Press.”

Jeff told us that when first approached he only wanted to speak about R H Mottram’s ‘The Spanish Farm Trilogy’ but the festival had suggested he broaden the talk to include all East Anglian literature so towards the end, after his piece on “What if … ?” books, he rather rushed through more recent books with a 1st WW theme but managed to include Diney’s The Ashgrove which was partly inspired by Colchester’s Avenue of Remembrance.

Although I made a few notes of books to follow up Jeff offered to send a booklist to anyone who cared to leave there email address with him.

Alex Munroe is a jewellery designer and maker. I’d never heard of him but booked the talk on the strength of the enthusiastic blog piece that arrived from the festival a few weeks ago. He’s written ‘Two Turtle Doves: a memoir of making things’.

Two Turtle Doves

It’s out soon in paperback but I’ll be requesting the library buy it. He told us that he thought if his friend Edmund de Waal can write a book … then so could he (tongue in cheek). He was very self-effacing but also very funny.

Alex Munro signing

Alex Munroe meeting members of the audience and signing his book

 Elaine’s daughter Helen McCarthy spoke about her new book on women diplomats.

diplomats.jpg

“Helen’s book, Women of the world: The Rise of the Female Diplomat, is the first serious attempt to explore the place of women in British diplomatic life since the 19th century. The two World Wars cast women as new players on the international stage. In this fascinating talk Helen traces their influence and experiences as wives, patrons, experts and eventually as diplomats in their own right. Helen is Senior Lecturer in History at Queen Mary, University of London and previously was a Research Fellow of St John’s College, Cambridge. Her first book was The British People and the League of Nations.” [Festival Notes]

All the events I attended were held in the Orwell Hotel and a couple of rooms were available for tea drinking and a local bookshop set a stall.

I stayed at a lovely old rectory B&B in the Suffolk countryside just beyond Sutton Hoo (NT) near Woodbridge.

The Old Rectory

 

Marshall Howman (1887 – 1915) Redux

One of the most commented upon posts here is the one about my great uncle Marshall. The most recent comment was from Rosemary Braby on 11 May this year.

Such an interesting and moving story, Barbara.
I am assistant priest at Trowse Church, where Marshall’s memorial is in the churchyard.
We are planning a weekend at the end of June, commemorating the outbreak of World War One, and especially honouring those whose names appear on our war memorial and others with local connections. We would be very grateful if you would allow us to use your information about Marshall in the display that we’re putting together. We have been trying to trace living relatives of those named on our war memorial, unfortunately without much success. Marshall’s memorial is somewhat unusual, looking more like a normal gravestone. It’s good to know that his great-niece still cares about him.”

What a stroke of luck that I just happened to be in Norwich from Tuesday until Saturday (28 June) morning and was able to go with my mum, who lives very near the Trowse parish church, to visit the exhibition before leaving for Felixstowe.

Trowse Church

Trowse St Andrew’s Church, Norwich

I assembled the information from the blog and a few other bits and pieces and made it up into a booklet and sent Rosemary a copy for the display.

Display 2

On the Saturday we made our way down to Trowse and enjoyed lovely home made cake and cups of tea and chat with other visitors and met Rosemary, Janice (the priest) and Rosemary’s husband Jim who had put together a powerpoint presentation of pictures and statistics about the War.

Honours Board

The Honours Board

Trowse-by-Norwich was mostly a purpose-built village built to house the workers at Colman’s Mustard Factory nearby. Although now part of Unilever there is still a popular Mustard Shop in the lovely Royal Arcade in the city centre and the archivist was able to help Rosemary to track down details of many of the men named on the Honours Board in the church. There were photos of many of them too but sadly I haven’t yet found one of Marshall.

Mustard Shop

The Mustard Shop in Norwich

Altar display

The Altar Display

WW1 medals

Medals (the two boxed medals are those of Harry Lyon invalided out of the RFC in 1917 and who worked as chauffeur at Colmans for 40 years)

Communion set

Communion set used in the trenches

Field glasses

Field Glasses and Pocket Watch

display 1

Display Board with many photos

Marshall's Memorial

I was very touched to see that flowers had been placed by Marshall’s memorial

Memorial close up

The wording from ‘Abide with me’ has now been revealed

During the course of further correspondence Rosemary told me this :

We managed to decipher a little more of the inscription – a line from the hymn “Abide with me”: “Shine through the gloom and point me to the skies“.”

I have memories of Gran telling me about her beloved brother Marshall and her pride in the memorials to him in both Norfolk and Worcestershire. I also remember that she loved the hymn ‘Abide With Me’.

Abide with me; fast falls the eventide;

The darkness deepens; Lord, with me abide;

When other helpers fail and comforts flee,

Help of the helpless, oh, abide with me.

Swift to its close ebbs out life’s little day;

Earth’s joys grow dim, its glories pass away;

Change and decay in all around I see—

O Thou who changest not, abide with me.

I need Thy presence every passing hour;

What but Thy grace can foil the tempter’s pow’r?

Who, like Thyself, my guide and stay can be?

Through cloud and sunshine, Lord, abide with me.

I fear no foe, with Thee at hand to bless;

Ills have no weight, and tears no bitterness;

Where is death’s sting? Where, grave, thy victory?

I triumph still, if Thou abide with me.

Hold Thou Thy cross before my closing eyes;

Shine through the gloom and point me to the skies;

Heav’n’s morning breaks, and earth’s vain shadows flee;

In life, in death, O Lord, abide with me.

Henry F. Lyte, 1847

 Earlier that week I had visited the Earlham cemetery where there are two War Cemeteries. The Old Cemetery which is mainly First World War burials and a further newer Commonwealth War Graves cemetery mainly Second World War. There are other CWGC graves scattered throughout the cemetery itself.

Old War Graves

The Old Cemetery

Earlham CWG

The Newer Commonwealth War Graves Cemetery

The History Wardrobe Premiere : Women and The Great War

Oh my word! What a fun afternoon I have had. First I met up with two dear friends from the online book group at The Heifer pub in Scorton in North Yorkshire (a village between Northallerton and Richmond). After a tasty lunch and several cups of tea we headed across the village green to The Memorial Hall to attend my third (and their first) the premiere of their new presentation by Lucy and Merry The History Wardrobe company : Women and The Great War.

Women of Britain say Go

Dawn, from nearby Kiplin Hall, who was responsible for the event, opened the proceedings by telling us about the origins of the Memorial Hall and its connections with the Hall and the Great War. It was originally built and donated as the Men’s Reading Room by the owner of Kiplin Hall in 1892 (what would they have thought of Lucy and Merry in various states of undress this afternoon??) but was bought by the village in 1919 and dedicated to the men of the village who died in the First World War.

Lucy introducing

Lucy opens the presentation in her silk dressing gown, pyjamas and, yes, her boudoir cap

Silk pyjamas and boudoir cap

And here she is in the silk and lace pyjamas

Westminster Gazette 4.8.14

Lucy reading an original issue of The Westminster Gazette of 4 August 1914

One of the highlights of History Wardrobe shows is having the opportunity to see and later examine closely genuine costumes and accessories from the period. Lucy is very clear about what is reproduction and what is the genuine article. Knitting came very much to the fore during the war years so Merry’s mother set to and knitted socks as would have been made in their thousands and sent to soldiers serving on the front line. Sometimes the knitters added a personal message to the unknown soldier and popped it into one of the socks. They even occasionally received replies.

Knitted socks

Meredith’s mum’s socks

Many middle class women joined the nursing services – the VADs – The Voluntary Aid Detachments. Vera Brittain has famously written about her wartime service and experiences in her book Testament of Youth also dramatised as a successful TV series. Lucy was able to show us a long grey nursing dress purchased from Harrods and a standard uniform with exceptionally starched collar and cuffs.

Nursing dress

The Long Grey Nursing Dress

On Vogue cover

And on the cover of Vogue

We were shown a silk wedding dress with its high collar, crinoline skirt, masses of petticoats and long sleeves.

Silk wedding dress

The Silk Wedding Dress

When War broke out in 1914 six million women were already working outside the home but between 1914 and 1918 many more joined them in all sorts of work not least in munitions factories. Meredith took on this role displaying the cap and tunic that would have been worn with waist-tie trousers and heavy wooden-soled clogs with metal caps.

Factory 'dress'

Meredith as factory worker

Like all good series this one would not be complete without an accompanying book. Lucy has published “Great War Fashion: Tales from The History Wardrobe” and I have my library copy in front of me now and am very much looking forward to reading it.

Great War Fashion

Great War Fashion – on sale now!

Lucy signs her book

Lucy signs her book

Finally, peace has broken out at last! As Lucy quoted from one woman “It feels as though the elastic has broken!”.

Peace has broken out

I’m looking forward to another History Wardrobe show although I don’t know what will be up for me next. Their diary is already filled for this year.

Art Deco and Art Nouveau in Lille and Antwerp : Day Four

Day 4 : Morning visit on foot to the superb collection at Lille’s Musee des Beaux Arts, the second largest collection in France after the Louvre. Time allowed for lunch before transferring to the station for return by Eurostar to St Pancras.

Yes, the  visit to the Musée des Beaux Arts was wonderful but as no photography was allowed I have very little pictorial evidence from the visit.

Instead, I’ll post my final report from Lille about a young hero of the First World War and a yummy cake, waffles and chocolates shop – the Lille equivalent of Yorkshire’s Bettys.

Leon Trulin

Leon Trulin Statue

Each day as we left our hotel and each evening as we returned to it we passed the life-size statue of a young man with the collar of his jacket turned up. This is Lille’s memorial to the ‘glorious teenager’ whose name can be seen on the street sign nearby: Léon Trulin. Our tour manager Karen told us the gist of the story and when I got home I looked it up again on this website.

LT wording

Born in Ath in Belgium in 1897, Léon Trulin came to Lille with his family after the death of his father and went to work in a factory to help his mother bring up his brothers and sisters. And then war broke out.

In June 1915, with Lille and much of Belgium occupied by the Germans, Léon Trulin went to England to join the Belgian Army in exile only to be turned away because of his diminutive stature; however the British Army proposed that he collect information in the occupied zone.

He set up an organization which he called ‘Noel Lurtin’, an anagram of his name, to which he recruited his teenage friends, some of whom were still children.: 15 and 16 or 18, like their leader Leon. Together they sent reports, photos and plans back to Britain.

They were arrested near Antwerp and sent to Lille. Trulin, and two others were sentenced to death on 5 November 1915. His two colleagues saw their sentences reduced however Trulin was executed in the ditch before the Citadel three days later.

Léon Trulin occupies a prominent position in Lille’s memorial to the men of the Resistance. The monument stands on the very spot where he was executed in the defensive ditch of the Citadel. His grave in Lille East Cemetery is marked by a statue of him awaiting execution, his back to the wall. The monument to the Lille Resistance in Daubenton Square shows him lying on the ground next to members of the Jacquet Network.

The above statue was erected in his honour in 1934 on avenue du Peuple Belge before being moved to its current location on the street which now bears his name. The plinth of the statue bears an inscription taken from his final letter to his mother, ‘I forgive everyone, friend and foe. I show them mercy because of the mercy they have not shown me’.” Adapted from the website.

I bought some chocolates, as gifts, in Antwerp – Belgium being the place to buy. However, after the visit to the Beaux Arts Museum on Sunday morning and on our way to another museum (which turned out to be closed for two hours for lunch) we made a detour to visit and go inside and even buy from Maison Méert. All other shops in Lille were closed on Sundays.

Meert 1

Through the shop window

A past fan of Méert was General de Gaulle himself – a native of Lille. The speciality, I read later, is the Méert Waffle made with fine butter and Madagascar vanilla. “A masterpiece of of culinary refinement that has been the bedrock of Méert’s reputation since 1761.” So, Something to go on the shopping list for next time. The shop décor dates back to 1839 and “abounds with mirrors edged with Pompeian motifs, moldings and ornately carved balconies.” Being on a narrow busy road it wasn’t possible to take a picture of the exterior. There’s a charming looking teashop at the back with a restaurant, verandah and terrace beyond that. Another trip to Lille and Antwerp must definitely go on the cards.

Meert 2

Marshall Howman (1887 – 1915)

War Memorial

A Dead Statesman

I could not dig; I dared not rob:
Therefore I lied to please the mob.
Now all my lies are proved untrue
And I must face the men I slew.
What tale shall serve me here among
Mine angry and defrauded young?

Rudyard Kipling

After last year’s “Remembrance” post about the life and death of and memorials to Norfolk heroine Nurse Edith Cavell I decided to carry out some research of my own. I chose to follow the life to death of a young man born in Norfolk who died on the battlefield far away on the Turkish Gallipoli Peninsula. I managed to visit several of his Memorials in England and maybe one day will visit Gallipoli itself. 2015 will be a big year for visitors to the area to pay their respects. The significance of the Gallipoli Campaign is felt strongly in both New Zealand and Australia.  ANZAC (Australian and New Zealand Army Corps) Day (25 April) is commemorated annually by both countries.

Marshal Letter

Private Howman in a letter home :

[… we get a lot of prisoners & rioting sometimes there are hundreds of Australians & New Zealanders wounded here from The Dardanelles. its  a terrible sight to see them maimed for life you would not think it possible how some of them could live …]

Marshall Howman was born in June 1887 in Whitlingham, just south of Norwich. He was the eldest child of Mark and Celia. Mark was a herdsman and Celia was in service at ‘the big house’ wherever they moved to and the family did move around the country. By 1901 Marshall and his parents were living at Stenigot in Lincolnshire with additional sisters and brother : Lena (born in 1891), Hilda (in 1894), Maxwell (in 1895) and Kathleen (Kit or Kitty) who was born in Cheadle [Staffs] in January 1900. Later, in a letter home Marshall tells his family that he ‘came across an old pal I went to Cheadle School with he is in the 6th Manchesters back from the Dardenelles.’

By 1911 when Marshall was 24 he had three further siblings, born  at Strensham in Worcestershire where his family had been living for several years : Ruth (born in 1903), Mabel (in 1906) and Norman (in 1910). By this time, although Marshall was still living at home (and adored certainly by his little sister Kit then aged 11), Lena (aged 20) was already making her own way and living in London as a domestic servant in the Mumford Family home in Westbourne Park Crescent, Paddington.

Strensham

Strensham and its War Memorial

 © Copyright Philip Halling and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence

Next year will see the Centenary of The First World War; the, so-called, “war to end all wars”. When Britain declared war on Germany on 4 August 1914 Marshall (then 27) and his parents and most of the rest of his siblings were living in Corner Cottage, Strensham in Worcestershire. At some point very soon after; Marshall volunteered to join the Worcestershire Yeomanry The Queen’s Own Worcestershire Hussars. He was assigned to No. 2 Troop, D Squadron.

The 1st Worcestershire Yeomanry was mobilised in Worcester on August 4, 1914 as part of the 1st South Midland Mounted Brigade. On August 11 the regiment moved to Warwick, with the rest of the brigade and on August 14 the brigade proceeded to Bury St. Edmunds, Suffolk. The brigade moved to Newbury, Berkshire, on August 30, where it joined the 2nd Mounted Division. On November 17 the regiment and the rest of the division moved to Barningham, Norfolk, then on to Kings Lynn. Mention here of King’s Lynn and Norfolk reminds me of :

The 1999 BBC film “All the King’s Men” tells the story of the men of the Sandringham Estate who signed up in 1914 and fought in the Gallipoli Campaign

On the reverse of a picture postcard of Bristol dated 9 April 1915 Marshall tells his family that he’s due to sail at midnight from Avonmouth :

Reverse of card

In fact the records state that it was on April 11, 1915 that the regiment sailed for Egypt from Avonmouth, Gloucestershire, on H.M. Transport Saturnia, arriving in Alexandria on April 24.

ALEXANDRIA EGYPT Fort Kom-El-Dik c1910 Postcard

After disembarking the regiment went into camp at Chatby, near Alexandria. Here is a letter dated 6 June from Kom el Dik Fort and another dated 13 June (his birthday was in June) from Chatby Camp, Alexandria. In civilian life Marshall had been an assistant herdsman and he seems happy to have charge of horses at the Camp.

Marshall letter from Egypt

His letters home show that he had neat, clear handwriting  and a very nice turn of phrase reflecting a reasonably good standard of education for an assistant herdsman a century ago. He was a loving and caring brother and son.

Marshall letter

However, when the regiment was notified that it would be going on active service on August 10 its horses would be left behind. This must have been a blow for Marshall. On August 14 the regiment – 366 men strong – embarked for Gallipoli on H.M. Transport Ascania.  On August 17 the transport arrived at the Greek island of Lemnos, and there the men transferred to the H.M.S. Doris. The following day (August 18), the regiment landed at “A” Beach, Suvla, under shellfire.

Suvla Book

Here is what happened on 21st August 1915 :

The 29th Division assaults 112 Metre Hill and Scimitar Hill, and 11th (Northern) Division assaults Green Hill and the “W” Hills in the Suvla sector, with the 2nd Mounted Division and the 10th (Irish) Division in reserve, out of sight of the Turks. The intention is to capture Scimitar Hill and to proceed on, if possible, and ultimately is to capture these positions, and thus protect the units scattered across the Suvla Plain from Turkish shellfire. At 3:30 p.m., after the failure of the 29th and 11th Divisions to take their objectives (due to strong Turkish defences, lack of adequate artillery support, lack of proper orders and lack of rest) the Worcestershire Yeomanry, along with the rest of the 2nd Mounted Division and the 10th (Irish) Division, is detailed to proceed against the original objectives. The assault is organized in five waves, each wave consisting of one of the five mounted brigades and spaced 200 yards apart. The Worcestershire Yeomanry, along with the rest of the division, moves off across the Salt Lake, under fire from Turkish artillery (the Royal Gloucestershire Hussars advancing behind the Worcestershire Yeomanry). Halfway across the Lake orders are given to advance at the double. Due both to Turkish resistance and confusion, the regiment is able to advance only as far as the line held by the 29th Division. The regiment digs in on Green Hill, but at 2 a.m. on August 22, it is ordered to retire to Lala Baba. No ground is gained in the assault.” [Information from The Gallipoli Association]

The regiment reported 26 men killed and wounded in the assault, though only two fatalities were known to have occurred. One of these was Private Marshall HOWMAN, No.2613, aged 28.  He was killed in action in the assault on Chocolate Hill, Suvla, on August 21, 1915. His name is commemorated on Panel 19 of the Helles Memorial, Gallipoli Peninsula.

Helles Panel 20f

Marshall listed on the Helles Memorial [Photo kindly supplied by Keith Edmonds of The Gallipoli Association]

Helles Memorial

The Helles Memorial 2013 [Photo kindly supplied by Keith Edmonds of The Gallipoli Association]

Back home Marshall’s family were devastated. Marshall’s name was eventually listed on the wall-mounted Honours Board in St George’s Chapel at Worcester Cathedral and was inscribed in the Roll of Honour there.

St George's Chapel 4

St George’s Chapel, Worcester Cathedral. The Honours Board hangs below the flags.

M on Honours Bd

Marshall’s name on the Honours Board

Marshall in Roll of Honour

Marshall listed in the Worcestershire Regimental Roll of Honour Book described below

Roll of honour

He is also listed on the Honours Board in St John’s Church, Strensham :

Honours Board Strensham Church

Close up M Howman

Strensham war memorial original

Original War Memorial in Strensham

More recently his name, and those of the others who fell in both World Wars, has been inscribed on the War Memorial  in the village of Strensham itself.

Strensham War Memorial close up

Names recently added to the Strensham Memorial including  Pt M. Howman

Marshall’s parents soon returned to Norfolk. There had been mention of their going in the letters between Marshall and his mother. Towards the end of the decade they paid for this memorial to him in the churchyard of St Andrew’s, Trowse-by-Norwich.

Marsahll's Memorial Trowse after

Trowse churchyard memorial now overgrown, weather-beaten and almost forgotten

[In Loving Memory of MARSHALL the dearly loved son of Celia and Mark Howman. There was more but sadly the rest of the text has disintegrated]

MARSHALL HOWMAN was my Great Uncle and KIT (KATHLEEN) was my Grandmother.

I have memories of Gran telling me about her beloved brother Marshall and her pride in the memorials to him in both Norfolk and Worcestershire. I have a number of Marshall’s original letters but sadly no photograph has materialised.

Acknowledgements

I’m extremely grateful to the following for information and inspiration. My sister Kathy for her research into the broader Howman family. My friend Ann and her husband who have been to Gallipoli and lent me books and sent me links on researching military records and helped in many other ways. My three contacts at The Gallipoli Association who provided me with material about the Worcestershire Yeomanry’s movements and Marshall’s final days; thank you Stephen, Keith and Mal.

“We have done that which was our duty to do”
[St. Luke XVII.10]