Archive for July, 2019

Name recorded on Board of Trade Memorial: F. Hanlon
Born: 9 April 1890
Date of Death: 31 March 1918
Age at death: 27
Service, Regiment, Corps, etc: West Yorkshire Regiment
Unit, Ship, etc: 15th (Service) Battalion (1st Leeds Pals Battalion) which later merged with 17th Battalion to become the 15th/17th Battalion
Enlisted: Leeds
Rank: Private (Service No. 15/425)
Decorations: WW1 Campaign Medals – Victory Medal, British War Medal, 1914-15 Star
War (and theatre): WW1 (France and Flanders) and WW1 (Egypt)
Manner of Death: Died of Wounds (whilst in German military field hospital)
Family Details: Son of James and Annie Hanlon of 19 Brudenall Road, Hyde Park, Leeds
Home Department: Board of Trade – Labour Department (Yorkshire and East Midlands Division)
Civilian Rank: 
Cemetery or Memorial: Cabaret-Rouge British Cemetery, Souchez, Pas de Calai (XX.E.14); Breary Banks Memorial to Leeds Pals; Memorial to the Staff of the Ministry of Labour, now hanging in Caxton House, Tothill Street, London SW1; and the Board of Trade War Memorial (now located at 3 Whitehall Place, London);



Frank’s mother and 4 sisters (Copyright: Cathy Ready)

Frank Hanlon was born on 8 April 1890, the oldest son and child of James Hanlon (1860-1931), a machinist an his wife Annie Shackleton (1867 – 1953) who came from Burley in Leeds. The growing family can be found in successive censuses, first in 1891, and then 1901 and 1911. In 1891 the Frank is living aged just 11 months together with his parents at 13 Carberry Place, Burley. By 1901,  the Hanlon family have moved to 180 Burley Road. Frank (aged 10) now has 4 younger sisters –  Shirley (1892 – 1970), Jeannette (1894 – 1993), Edith (1896 – 1979) and lastly Mildred (1898 – 1990). In 1911, the whole family are all living at 10 Beechwood Crescent, Burley. In this census, Frank is now aged 20 and working as a clerk for Leeds County Council in the Education Department.

At some point between 1911 and 1914, Frank joined the Yorkshire and East Midlands Division of the Labour Department (which at the time formed part of the Board of Trade).

In his private life, we know that Frank and his family had a life long connection with St Andrew’s Church located on Burley Street, Leeds, just a stone’s throw from their home in Burley Street. Sadly the church no longer exists, since it closed in 1958, as a result of a reorganisation of church boundaries. What was previously St Andrew’s parish now falls under St George’s parish.

However, we still know that Frank was baptised at St Andrew’s in May 1890. We also know that his father, James Hanlon was a choirmaster there as, according to family records, the church wrote to him in 1909 thanking him for his service in this role and asking him to continue. Frank was also active in church life and was one of the sidesmen (also known as ushers or assistant churchwardens). In this capacity he would have been well known to the congregation and local community, as he was responsible for greeting churchgoers, overseeing seating and taking the collection. As is common practice, he would most likely have been appointed by the church’s Annual Parochial Church Meeting.


“The Leeds Pals” book

Motivated by his faith and strong personal and moral upbringing, Frank enlisted as a Private in the 15th (Service) Battalion of the Prince of Wales’ Own (West Yorkshire Regiment). This  was one of the so-called “Pals Battalions” formed by local authorities or private organisations who provided the necessary clothing, accommodation and food alongside the army providing weapons and training. The young men of Leeds (as in other places across the UK) heeded the call of Lord Kitchener to enlist (and bolster the small standing professional army of 120,000 men). The connection between the volunteers and the city was intrinsically linked – for instance, as the authors of the Leeds Pals Researchers say “the city was part of them and they were part of the city”.

According to details of the regiment published on “The Long Long Trail” the battalion was formed in Leeds in September 1914 by Lord Edward Brotherton, the Lord Mayor and the City. Frank (alongside his friends and work colleagues) would undoubtedly have seen a recruitment poster similar to the one published here.

He enlisted alongside hundreds of other clerks, engineers, schoolteachers and other men from the city and so it is likely he knew a highly educated Leeds University graduate originally from Bengal in India, Jogendra Sen (1887 – 1916) who was also one of the first men to enlist in the Leeds Pals.

The regiment initially trained locally before moving to Silkstone (near Barnsley in South Yorkshire) in December 1914. In June 1915, the battalion came order of the 93rd Brigade, 31st Division. In December 1915 the battalion saw its first service overseas when it was sent to Alexandria in Egypt to defend the Suez Canal (according to Frank’s medal card he landed on 22 December 1915 which would have made for an unusual Christmas away from home). It would very likely have been Frank’s first time far from home and first time on a long sea journey.  The memories of the voyage to Egypt are remembered on the Remembering the Leeds Pals Battalions website by a fellow Leeds Pal who survived the war, Private Arthur Pearson. He recalls that the food served on board was ‘most unappetising and most of it uneatable. Boiled mutton day after day. We swore we got the same piece of mutton day after day too, as we couldn’t touch the stuff.’

Then in March 1916, the battalion was subsequently reassigned to serve in France.

Frank would undoubtedly have fought  alongside his friends on the first day of the Battle of the Somme (1 July 1916). During this action, the Leeds Pals were stationed near the village of Serre, where they were ordered to attack the Germany positions. This was a deadly day and the Pals were decimated by the German artillery and machine guns. By the end of 1 July 1916, 248 members of the Leeds Pals were either killed or fatally injured. Only 72 members of the Battalion were uninjured. As Private Pearson, again remembered: “The name of Serre and the date of 1st July is engraved deep in our hearts, along with the faces of our ‘Pals’, a grand crowd of chaps. We were two years in the making and ten minutes in the destroying.”

Frank at this time was one of the ‘lucky’ ones and he went on to fight in the Battle of Arras (9 April to 16 May 1917) with the Leeds Pals. He was subsequently part of the remaining Leeds Pals who merged with the 17th Battalion or Leeds Bantams to form the 15th/17th Battalion on 7 December 1917.

By 1918, the surviving Leeds men spent the start of the year training and in reserve, in preparation to provide reinforcements to the front line. We also know (thanks to a Leeds Live online newspaper report from 11 November 1918 the circumstances which most likely led to Frank’s ultimate death). The 15th/17th Battalion that Frank served in was sent back to the front in March 1918 and so he would have have faced the German Spring Offensive, code-named Operation Michael. This German military operation consisted of an intensive bombardment on the British trenches across a 50 mile front line (stretching from Arras to La Ferre). On 26 March 1918, the Leeds Pals were isolated whilst fighting on the outskirts of Moyenneville. The Leeds Pals launched a counter attack to drive off the Germans but they continued to hit back and were able to hold out. The battalion was ordered to withdraw and hit by another attack on 27 March 1918. Subsequently, with the German’s looking to be gaining advantage, a Sergeant Alfred Mountain volunteered to take charge of 10 men and a Lewis gun to protect the battalion’s flank, killing up to 100 German soldiers. This action successfully repelled the German attack. For this action Sergeant Mountain (who ultimately survived) was awarded the Victoria Cross. The Germans however continued to advance and the Pals were were again outflanked and whilst 44 were able to retreat, the rest were captured. In all, during this whole 9 day battle, 74 soldiers in the West Yorkshire Regiment were lost and more than 1,070 men serving in the 93rd Brigade were either, dead, wounded or missing.

This reason for focusing in on this particular time period, is that we know that at some point during this military action, Frank Hanlon was captured by the Germans, after being injured. Frank was one of 10 million people, servicemen or civilians who were captured and sent to detention camps or treated in military hospitals.

Thanks to surviving Prisoner of War historical archives from the International  Committee of the Red Cross, we know that Frank was reported missing since 24 March 1918. An index card (Reference no A. 40491) also details that Frank died, aged 27, at a field hospital at Aniche on 31 March 1918 having been shot in the lung.

As a wounded prisoner, Frank Hanlon’s fate would have fallen under the 1864 Geneva Convention which stated in Article 6 that “Wounded or sick combatants, to whatever nation they may belong, shall be collected and cared for”.

The ICRC, an independent, neutral organisation, was founded in 1863 to “protect the lives and dignity of victims of armed conflict and violence and to provide them with assistance”. Their work continues to this day and you can find out more about supporting and donating to their ongoing work.

From records, we also know that Frank left a will and and probate (dated 10 September 1918) totalling £47 1 shilling 6 pence. Also touchingly his next of kin is named as his fiancee, Lucy Markinson.

Cabaret Rouge1

Cabaret-Rouge British Cemetery, France (Copyright: www.cwgc.org.uk)

Frank was initially buried at Auberchicourt Cemetery, in what was then German territory. However, in 1924 his body was re-interred in the Commonwealth War Grave Cemetery at Cabaret-Rouge British Cemetery, Souchez, France where it remains to this day. Frank’s reburial is not unusual during the period after WW1 as the battlefields were cleared of ammunition and debris and known burial sites were examined and moved to larger cemeteries. As a result, alongside over 3000 fellow British and Commonwealth soldiers, Frank has a uniform gravestone which bears a simple inscription chosen by his family – it says: “HE IS RISEN” MARK XVI. 6″.

As their eldest son and as a brother, Frank’s loss must have been deeply felt by the rest of the Hanlon family, and his death was rarely spoken of according to living descendants. His nephew Frank Hanlon Pollard was named after him.

The then vicar of St Andrew’s wrote beautifully and movingly of Frank in his Annual Report in 1918 as follows:

“There are other and sadder losses…Mr Frank Hanlon, one of our sidesmen, and all his life connected with St Andrew’s Church, has lost his life in battle. He was one of the best and we mourn his loss. He gave his life for his country and he could do no more.” 

Frank is remembered at the Commonwealth War Grave cemetery of Cabarat-Rouge in France. He is also remembered on two Civil Service War Memorials in London – the Ministry of Labour War Memorial located in Tothill Street and the Board of Trade War Memorial located at 3 Whitehall Place. A stone cairn memorial also stands in honour of the 15th Battalion (The Leeds Pals) which is located on Breary Banks. The memorial was unveiled on 25 September 1935 on the site of the first training camp of around 1,275 men who formed the Leeds Pals battalion.

The memorial in St Andrew’s Church, Burley has sadly been lost in the years since the church closed in 1958, however a photo of it still survives. It would be amazing to see if the memorial could be found or alternatively replaced. This happened as recently as 2017 when Leeds City Council rededicated the war memorial from the former  St Columba Church which also previously located in Burley, Leeds. As reported in the Yorkshire Post the restoration of war memorials is deeply symbolic, hence the ongoing work of the Department for International Trade‘s War Memorial Research Group, which cuts across all faiths, beliefs and places of origin (and other national organisations such as the War Memorial Trust). 

Chris Page, local Leeds branch secretary of the Western Front Association, who campaigned for the restoration of the St Colomba memorial, said in 2017: “It’s not really about us – it’s about them and their sacrifice which was really important.”


War Memorial from former St Andrews Church, Burley Street, Leeds

With massive thanks to the relatives (Cathy and Neil Ready) of Frank Hanlon for very kindly sharing surviving photos of Frank and his family.

(Note: Many more details of the history of the Leeds Pals can be found in books by Laurie Mills or the Leeds Pals Researchers).

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Name recorded on Board of Trade Memorial: T. H. Maynard
Born: 6 September 1895
Date of Death: 19 August 1918
Age at death: 23
Service, Regiment, Corps, etc: Middlesex Regiment
Unit, Ship, etc: 1/9th Battalion
Enlisted: Willesden
Rank: Sergeant (Service No. 265180)
Decorations: WW1 Campaign Medals – Victory Medal, British War Medal, Territorial Force War Medal
War (and theatre): WW1 (Mesopotamia)
Manner of Death: Accidental
Family Details: Son of T H and A Maynard, 120 Mason Avenue, Wealdstone, Harrow
Residence: Wealdstone
Home Department: Board of Trade – Office of the Umpire
Civilian Rank: 
Cemetery or Memorial: Baghdad (North Gate) War Cemetery, Iraq (XIX.D.2); Wealdstone War Memorial; Maynard family grave plot and headstone located at Wealdstone cemetery, London; Haberdashers Askes Hatcham College Memorial; Memorial to the Staff of the Ministry of Labour, now hanging in Caxton House, Tothill Street, London SW1; and the Board of Trade War Memorial (now located at 3 Whitehall Place, London);


Looking into the life of Thomas Henry Maynard, I started looking initially at his unique story, but this quickly extended to his wider family who were touched by tragedy with not just one death in wartime and in its aftermath, but four deaths! How families remained resilient and stoic in such circumstances is thought provoking.

Thomas Henry Maynard was born on 6 September 1895 in Bermondsey, South London. He was baptised aged 2 months at St Katherine’s, Southwark, Rotherhithe on 26 November 1895. His parents were his father also called Thomas Henry Maynard (1865 – 1949) and mother, Ada Alice Maynard (nee Purbrick) (1866 – 1943). He was the eldest son and child in a family of seven siblings. The family also consisted of Ethel Ada Maynard (1897 – 1918), Albert Bertram Maynard (1899 – 1918), Henry William Maynard (1901 – 1971), Richard Charles Maynard (1902 – 1903), Violet Mary Maynard (1905 – 1994), Elsie Rosie Maynard (1910 – 1911). Two of the Maynard children – Richard and Elsie – both died in childhood in 1903 and 1911 respectively.

The family were fairly poor. For instance, Thomas Henry Maynard senior’s occupation in 1901 is the unskilled labouring position of “potman and cellarman” which is unlikely to have brought in much money to the family. By 1911, however, Thomas Henry (senior) is working as a ‘colour printer machine minder’, which was likely to be a more skilled role but still might have brought in much money.

According to the 1901 census, the Maynard family are living at 52 Grange Road, Bermondsey. By the 1911 census, Thomas’s parents and younger siblings are living in the Harrow and Wealdstone area of north London at 14 Redcliffe Terrace, Cecil Road, Wealdstone, Middlesex, England. Thomas Henry (junior) is not living with the family since he is listed aged 15 as a boarder living at 8 Hoopwick Street, Deptford Park, Kent with the Mall family. At this time he is listed as being on a school scholarship.

We are also lucky to have a record of Thomas’s schooling and know that he attended the Rotherhithe New Road School (now called Rotherhithe Primary School) where he started aged 6 on 7 October 1901. We also know that Thomas attended Haberdashers Aske’s Hatcham Boys School (now College), located near New Cross.


Haberdashers Askes Hatcham College

This school has a long history. It was named after its benefactor, Robert Aske (1619 – 1689) who was a haberdasher (or merchant dealing in raw silk). When Aske died, he left £20,000 in his will to the Worshipful Company of Haberdashers, with the aim of buying land within a mile of London on which to build almshouses (hospital) and a school for 20 poor boys and 20 poor men. He also left £12,000 to benefit the Foundation, or Charity, of which the Haberdashers became trustees. Initially, land was purchased in Hoxton in 1690 to build the original hospital and school – which were subsequently demolished in 1824 and then the school was enlarged (and the almshouses closed) in 1874. Further change came in 1898 when the Hoxton school site become un-usable and the school moved to Hampstead and Acton (and ultimately to their current location in Elstree).

Alongside the Hoxton developments dating back to the 1870s, the Haberdashers Foundation had surplus money and land was also bought at Hatcham, near New Cross, South London at the top of what is now Telegraph Hill and plans were made to build both a boys and girls grammar school. This was quite a challenge since at that time there were no nearby roads and bad weather made journeying up the hill difficult by horse and carriage. Nevertheless, by October 1875, the two Hatcham grammar schools were established. By 1889 the Foundation had purchased further land in Jerningham Road (which became a girls school) and the initial Hatcham school (located at Pepys Road) became a school for 300 boys.

We know that Thomas was a scholarship pupil at Haberdashers. Unfortunately the school records from the time have not survived, so we don’t know what he excelled in or how long he attended the school. We do know that at some point after leaving, Thomas joined the Board of Trade and worked in a division called the ‘Office of the Umpire’.


Haberdashers Aske’s Hatcham “In Memorium” (Copyright: Wendy Blackburne)

The motto of Haberdashers Aske’s Hatcham is to “Serve and Obey” and that is what Thomas did alongside so many thousands of his generation. We know that Thomas enlisted in Willesden and he served in the 1/9th Battalion, Middlesex Regiment.

From various military history sources, we know that the Regiment (along with other units which formed the larger Home Counties Division) was ordered to serve in India in October 1914, arriving in Bombay (now Mumbai) on 2 December 1914. From military records, we know that Thomas would have travelled on either the “Dilwara” or “Dongola” ships. The 1/9th Middlesex were assigned to the Presidency Brigade in 8th (Lucknow) Division near Calcutta. In January 1916 the Battalion was transferred to the 5th (Jhelum Brigade), 2nd (Rawalpindi) Division and served on the North West Frontier. During this time the Battalion continuously moved around in locations in what is now the border area between modern day India and Pakistan (such as Nowshera, Murree and Lahore).

An insight into what life serving in India must have been like for Thomas can be found on the website King-Emperor.com – The Indian Army on Campaign 1900 – 1939 which features a fascinating collection of photographs taken by Captain Maurice Mendes who served in the 1/9th Middlesex Regiment (and then received a temporary commission as an officer in the 1st Battalion, 103rd Mahratta Light Infantry) and who served on the North West Frontier.

Then in October 1917, the 9th Battalion was selected to be the British battalion in a new 53rd Indian Brigade and was sent to Mesopotamia (in modern day Iraq). The Battalion was supplemented with men from the 1/10th Middlesex and the 1/25th London Regiment and sailed from Karachi on the troop transport ship “Egra” on 19 November 1917, landing in Basra on 23 November 1917. The battalion became the 18th Indian Division at Baghdad on 24 December 1917. The division subsequently moved north up the Tigris River in March 1918. From 21 March to 19 May, Baghdad was blockaded and the 9th Middlesex were involved in several incidents. Then during the summer of 1918 until October 1918, the division was involved in roadbuilding rather than campaigning, since the summer heat was too intense of military campaigning.

It was during this period that Thomas died on active service whilst serving in Baghdad, Iraq on 19 August 1918. According to the records his death was accidental and was as a result of an oil gas lamp explosion.

Further tragedy struck the Maynard family when just a month later, Thomas’s younger brother Albert Bertram Maynard (known as Bert) died in France, aged just 19 years old, on 3 September 1918. Bert was a Rifleman in the 1st Battalion, King’s Royal Rifle Corps (Service No 44463).

We know from the British WW1 Medal Card records that both the Maynard boys were awarded WW1 campaign medals, which were given to the family.  Both were awarded the Victory Medal and the British Medal. Additionally Thomas was awarded the Territorial Force War Medal (which his father posthumously applied to to have him awarded in 1923). This last medal is particularly rare and was only awarded to members of the Territorial Force on or prior to 30 September 1914, and to those who had served in an operational theatre of war outside of the United Kingdom between 5 August 1914 and 11 November 1918. Receipt of the medals would have been a poor replacement for the death of both boys.

William McCormick

William McCormick (Copyright: Kendell Cummings

The family’s devastating sense of loss was also compounded by the death of one of Thomas’ sisters, Ethel Ada Maynard, aged 21 and her husband William Gordon MacCormick (1893 – 1918), aged only 19, both of whom died on 29 November 1918 in the Spanish flu pandemic of 1918. The couple had only recently married on 24 September 1918 at St John the Baptist Church in Greenhill, London. William also served in WW1 in the Mercantile Marine Reserve on HMS Revenger.  

The lives of Thomas, Bert, Ethel and Will are all remembered on the family grave in Wealdstone. Here also, both Thomas and Bert are remembered on the local Wealdstone town memorial which was originally unveiled on 11 November 1923 by Field Marshal the Lord W E Ironside (and dedicated the following day by the Archdeacon of Hampstead). The Wealdstone memorial is in the form of a Grade 2 listed clocktower which lists over 249 names by initial, rank and decoration (Source: Roll of Honour website).

Haberdashers Askes Hatcham Grammar School WW1 memorial

Haberdashers Aske’s Hatcham Roll of Honour Board

The sacrifice of Thomas and his fellow Old Askeans who died during WW1 is remembered on a beautiful wooden Roll of Honour board mounted on the wall of the main school hall, located at Pepys Road, New Cross, London.

The school still maintains a strong connection to its past. According to the school website “We believe that history is not just the study of the past but an essential subject in helping us to understand what is happening in the world today, and how our future will develop.“. In November 2018, 42 boys and five staff took part in a WW1 Battlefield Trip to remember those former Haberdashers Aske’s Hatcham school pupils who died in France.

Thomas obviously died much further from home and he is among 4480 men buried at the Commonwealth War Grave Commission (CWGC) Baghdad (North Gate) War Cemetery in Iraq. Due to military conflict and political instability in the region, staff from CWGC were not able to visit Iraq for 12 years between 2006 and 2018. However in May 2018, a team led by Richard Hills, CWGC’s Director of Asia, Africa and Pacific Area visited Iraq and made an an initial assessment of the work required towards maintaining the memorials and cemeteries into the future. The ongoing work of Richard Hills and his CGWC team, is highlighted in a blog about the CWGC in Iraq – our history and the future.

The goal of the CGWC remains to honour and never forget the sacrifice of men like Thomas and his brother Bert and to maintain in perpetuity the graves and memorials to over 1.7 million men and women from the Commonwealth forces of the First and Second World Wars. The CGWC was created thanks to the vision of its founder Sir Fabian Ware who during WW1 was too old to fight (aged 45) but served as a commander of a mobile unit of the British Red Cross. Saddened by the huge numbers of casualties, his unit began to find ways to ensure permanent memorials and resting places for the men of WW1 in France and Flanders. By 1915 his work was officially recognised as part of the Graves Registration Commission (as part of the British Army). The Commission was subsequently established as the Imperial War Graves Commission (now CGWC) in 1917 by Royal Charter with the same basic mission to honour all those who died.

Ultimately the CGWC’s work extended beyond Europe and there are CGWC memorials and graves in 23,000 locations in 150 countries worldwide. Those memorials and graves to men in Iraq (including to Thomas) comprise memorials to more than 54,000 Commonwealth war casualties (in both World Wars) in 19 locations. This represents almost 3% of the CGWC’s worldwide commitment (with only France, the UK, Belgium and India having more casualties and memorial sites).  Whether in Iraq or elsewhere the CGWC commitment is the same – to ensure that all CGWC sites are secured, monitored and properly maintained through landscaping and appropriate care. A fascinating insight into the work of the CGWC is provided in a short video about the CGWC by Dan Cruickshank. He also presented a fascinating programme “Monuments of Remembrance” shown on BBC4 in November 2018.  

The memorial grave to Thomas in Baghdad bears the inscription “Until the day breaks“. His brother Bert, who is buried in St Sever Cemetery Extension in Rouen, France (Section R. Plot II. Row J. Grave 8). His inscription says “Only a few more trials, only a few more tears, until we meet again“.

It should be remembered that both of these very moving and personal epitaphs would have been chosen by the Maynard family themselves. According to a Daily Telegraph article about WW1 gravestone inscriptions, families like the Maynard’s would have been sent a “final verification form” which were sent by the War Graves Commission to the individual’s last known address, with final details such as name, age and choice of presentation (such as the inclusion of a cross or other religious symbol), as well as a personal quote. At first there was a fee payable of  31/2d per letter up to a maximum fee of £1 for each inscription, but this was later removed. Both epitaphs chosen by the Maynard family remind us of the many millions of individual lives that were cut short.


Family locket featuring photo of either Thomas or Bert Maynard (Copyright: Wendy Blackburne)

Both Thomas and Bert were very cherished individuals and their memory lives on through the very moving words of their gravestone inscriptions and also in the memories of both men’s direct relatives. Their mother, Ada, had a small locket with the photos of both her sons kept close to her heart. The locket survives but only one photo. Unfortunately it is not yet known if the photo is of Thomas or Bert.

With much thanks to Wendy Blackburne, who is related to the Maynard family, for her added insight and information and for very kindly providing the family photos. 






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