Tag Archives: Brockley & Ladywell Cemetery

Days of Wine and Roses – The Sad Life & Death of Ernest Dowson

Running Past has covered several of the poets who have passed through Lewisham at various stages in their lives – Robert Browning, who lived in New Cross for a while in the 1840s, Thomas Dermody who died in a hovel on Perry Vale and was buried at St Mary’s Lewisham along with James Elroy Flecker, who was born in Gilmore Road.  Another who passed through was the ‘decadent’ poet, Ernest Dowson, whose final resting place is in Ladywell and Brockley Cemetery.

Dowson was born on 2 August 1867 at 11 The Grove (now Belmont Grove) off Belmont Hill.  The house is no longer there; it was probably demolished during the early 1930s and replaced with a large block of council flats with more than a nod towards Art Deco, the appropriately named Dowson Court. He is remembered there though with one of Lewisham’s maroon plaques; as is next door neighbour Edward Owen Greening, also has a maroon plaque.  Both have matching overflows next to them.

Dowson was the elder son of Annie and Alfred.  They may not have stayed in Lee that long after Ernest’s birth – they were recorded as living in Weston-Super-Mare in the 1871 census and in Barnstaple in 1881, although it seems that the family travelled a lot around Europe in an attempt to find relief for his father’s tuberculosis.  Dowson went to Oxford in 1886 but left before the end of his second year, without a degree.  He returned to London to help run the family owned dock, seemingly without much enthusiasm becoming involved with London literary society – knowing the like of Wilde and Yates and joining The Rhymers Club contributing poems to their annual collections in 1892 and 1894.

He became infatuated with Adelaide “Missie” Foltinowicz when she served him, aged just 11 in a restaurant in 1889.   He was to later unsuccessfully propose to her, and was left devastated when she eventually married someone else.  He wrote extensively about her, often with overtones of paedophilia; although it has been suggested that Dowson (pictured below – source) was looking for eternal love rather than sexual gratification.  It was certainly considered ‘eccentric rather than deviant’ at the time.

His father died from an overdose of chloral hydrate in August 1894, probably a suicide as he was in the advanced stages of tuberculosis; his mother took her life early the following year.   Their deaths, along with the rejection by “Missie” seems to have caused Dowson to embark on a downward spiral of self-indulgence and drink, he became addicted to absinthe – a strong spirit, later banned in many countries, ostensibly due to purported hallucinogenic properties.

The publisher Leonard Smithers gave him an allowance to move to France and write translations in an unsuccessful attempt to try to shake him out of his dissolute lifestyle.  Dowson returned to London and stayed with the Foltinowicz family during 1897.

He was found drunk and penniless in a central London wine bar by the novelist and biographer, Robert Sherard and he was to spend his final weeks in ‘a cottage in Catford, where Sherard was living.’ Bucolic idyl it most certainly wasn’t – Catford was mid-way through its transition to suburbia through the likes of Cameron Corbett and James Watt.  The ‘cottage’ was in reality a two bedroom terraced house at 26 Sandhurst Gardens (now 159 Sangley Road).  Sherard noted

Our fashionable residence is in a row of cottages about 200 yards up the lane (from the Plough and Harrow).  The lane is a mud swamp.

As was common in poor households, the house was shared with a building worker and his family.  While Sherard had left by the time the census enumerators called in 1901 – 26 Sandhurst Gardens was then home to two households with 9 people.

Dowson was to die at Sandhurst Gardens on 23 February 1900, he was buried four days later on the Ladywell side of what is now Brockley and Ladywell Cemetery in an area reserved for Catholics.   

Oscar Wilde wrote on hearing of Dowson’s death

Poor wounded wonderful fellow that he was, a tragic re-production of all tragic poetry, like a symbol or a scene.  I hope bay leaves will be laid on his tomb, and rue, and myrtle too, for he knew what love is.

The grave was restored through public subscription in 2010 with a ceremony on what would have been the poet’s 143rd birthday.

While there is no plaque on his place of death at Sangley Road, in addition to the plaque in Lee and the grave, he is ‘commemorated’ by an information panel in Wetherspoons in Catford, given his downward alcoholic spiral, this is perhaps an appropriate accolade.

Whilst drunk he apparently said the immortal words ‘absinthe makes the tart grow fonder’, but a  post about a poet needs some poetry – a good, accessible starting point is his poem – Autumnal – which starts

Pale amber sunlight falls across

The reddening October trees,

That hardly sway before a breeze

As soft as summer: summer’s loss

Seems little, dear! On days like these.

 

Let misty autumn be our part!

The twilight of the year is sweet:

Where shadow and the darkness meet

Our love, a twilight of the heart

Eludes a little time’s deceit.

 

However, Dowson is probably best known  for ‘Vitae Summa Brevis’ (appropriately translated as ‘The shortness of life forbids us long hopes), which now appears on his grave

They are not long, the weeping and the laughter,

Love and desire and hate:

I think they have no portion in us after

We pass the gate.

 

They are not long, the days of wine and roses:

Out of a misty dream

Our path emerges for a while, then closes

Within a dream.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

George Lacy Hillier – A Victorian South London Cycling Champion

Tucked away in the corner of of Brockley and Ladywell Cemetery is a squat, unremarkable family tomb, it is easy to ignore when passing but it is the family grave of the Hilliers and contains the remains of George Lacy Hillier, one of leading Victorian amateur cyclists and cycling administrators.

GL Hillier 2

A biographer of an American cyclist Arthur Zimmerman puts Lacy Hillier into some context

It is hardly possible to overestimate the important of George Lacy Hillier in British cycling in the 1880s and 1890s … A fierce propagator and defender of ideological amateurism and denigrator of commercialism and professionalism….

 

The biographer, Andrew Ritchie, went on to note that in addition to being a multi-distance champion in 1881, he was a member of the Racing Committee of the National Cyclists Union, he was the editor of Bicycling News – for which he wrote ‘acerbic and verbose articles’, he promoted and judged race meetings and a was a ’tireless and outspoken critic of those whom he disagreed, which was almost everyone.’

George Lacy Hillier was born in Sydenham on 6 June 1856 (1) – his father was from Bloomsbury and a member of the Stock Exchange, his mother from Bognor Regis.  He seems to have been a sickly child and he was sent away to school (2) – the 1871 census had him at the Temple School in Brighton, perhaps to get the ‘air’.

By the next census in April 1881, he was back living with his parents who were then residing in Anerley Park – just to the south of Crystal Palace Park – and already a member of the Stock Exchange.  His rise to fame in the cycling world seems to have been a fairly meteoric one – there were only a few mentions of him in the Victorian press before the 1881 ‘season.’

He had competed in the 50 mile Championships in 1880, but there was no mention of him finishing – he certainly didn’t get onto the ‘podium’(3).  There were some glimpses on what was to come in the autumn of 1880, he won a mile handicap race at Crystal Palace (4) and was placed second in a tryicycle race from Finchley to Hitchin and back against some of the leading amateurs of the day (5).  But in early season races in Leicester (6), at the Kennington Oval, in front of 4,000 spectators (7), and at Alexandra Palace (8) he was winning races comfortably at a variety of distances.

The Leicester race was at the new Belgrave Road Cricket and Bicycle Ground which was later home to the nascent Leicester City for a season.  It was also to host both the mile and 25 mile cycling championship that summer.  With the mile event, there were two rounds and then a final against C E Liles of the Temple Club (9)

GL Hillier 5

With the 25 mile race Lacy Hillier seems to have been content to let others stay on the front making his decisive move on the 21st mile, holding the lead until the end (10).   About a week later he added the 50 mile Championship at Surbiton to his palmarès, winning by 40 yards at the finish (11).

GL Hillier 6

He continued actively to compete for another six or seven years, but he never came close to reliving the glories of the summer of 1881.  He represented Britain in an international match in Leipzig in 1885 (12)

He ran too, competing at cross country for South London Harriers (13); he race walked for the London Athletic Club (14), and, according to his obituary (15) he was also a good swimmer. A hundred years later he might have been an international triathlete.

He was frequently reported in the 1880s and 1890s press reports as an official and timekeeper; he also wrote a massive Handbook of Cycling, which one of the reviews suggested that while ‘ the quantity is great, the quality does not equal it.’ (16).  He was passionate about the amateur ethos of the sport – as a wealthy member of the Stock Exchange throughout his riding career, he could afford to be, at one point wanting those who earned their living as delivery cyclists classed as professionals (17).

While not competing, he continued riding – he was prosecuted in 1897 for the fantastic offence of ‘riding a bicycle furiously’ with the police estimating his speed on College Road in Dulwich at a moderate 12 to 14 miles an hour (18).

GL Hillier 7

GLH Novel 1Lacy Hillier died in 1941- his Times Obituary (19)  also lists him as writing two novels ‘The Potterers Club’, a now out of print cycling novel, which he launched at the 1900 Cycle Show; the other was ‘The Weston Diamond’ about which little is known.  Despite having moved to Chichester in his latter years, he is buried in the family grave close to the north-eastern corner of Brockley and Ladywell Cemetery.

 

GL Hillier 4

Notes

  1. “Obituaries.” Times [London, England] 24 Feb. 1941: 7. The Times Digital Archive. Web. 15 Apr. 2016
  2. Ibid
  3. Daily News (London, England), Friday, July 9, 1880; Issue 10679
  4. Reynolds’s Newspaper (London, England), Sunday, October 10, 1880; Issue 1574
  5. Reynolds’s Newspaper (London, England), Sunday, November 7, 1880; Issue 1578,
  6. Leicester Chronicle and the Leicestershire Mercury (Leicester, England), Saturday, April 23, 1881; pg. 2; Issue 3658.
  7. The Graphic (London, England), Saturday, May 7, 1881; Issue 597.
  8. Lloyd’s Weekly Newspaper (London, England), Sunday, July 10, 1881; Issue 2016
  9. Leicester Chronicle and the Leicestershire Mercury (Leicester, England), Saturday, July 23, 1881; pg. 2; Issue 3671.
  10. ibid
  11. The Newcastle Courant etc (Newcastle-upon-Tyne, England), Friday, July 29, 1881; Issue 10778.
  12. The Leeds Mercury (Leeds, England), Saturday, September 12, 1885; Issue 14799.
  13. Penny Illustrated Paper (London, England), Saturday, December 05, 1885; pg. 362.
  14. Reynolds’s Newspaper (London, England), Sunday, April 13, 1884; Issue 1757.
  15. Times [London, England] 24 Feb. 1941 op cit
  16. The Pall Mall Gazette (London, England), Friday, May 20, 1887; Issue 6918.
  17. The Bristol Mercury and Daily Post (Bristol, England), Monday, December 7, 1891;
  18. “Police.” Times [London, England] 11 Aug. 1897: 9. The Times Digital Archive. Web. 15 Apr. 2016.
  19. Times [London, England] 24 Feb. 1941 op cit

The census and related information come from Find My Past.

The McMillan Sisters and their Open Air Nursery

One of the more interesting regular South East London Open House venues is the Rachel McMillan Nursery in Deptford; it is an open-air nursery that evokes a time of the pioneering health care already covered in the blog in relation to the ground breaking work done in Bermondsey by the Salters and then taken up by the then Borough of Bermondsey at Solarium Court.

The Open-Air Nursery School & Training Centre, set up by the McMillan sisters, Rachel and Margaret, opened in 1914. Their philosophy was that children learned by exploring and would achieve their full potential through first-hand experience and active learning.  They stressed the importance of free play, particularly with craft and water activities, and also outdoor play – providing large and varied external areas for this. Such views seem commonplace now, but were very different to the teaching methods generally used at the time.

image

The new school consisted of a series of  ‘shelters’ which each had bathrooms,  there was a clear daily routine

  • The school opened at 7:30 am;
  • Most children were dropped off between 08.00 and 09.00 by their mothers on their way to work in factories – often taking on roles traditionally undertaken by men, who were then on the WW1 front;
  • Breakfast with porridge and milk at 9:00 am;
  • The mornings were spent doing hand work or playing in the garden (or in the shelter in poor weather);
  • Lunch 11.30 and 12 noon;
  • The afternoon activities consisted of free play, music and games;
  • Tea at 4:00 pm; and
  • Collection of the children between 5:00 and 5:30 pm.

image

Much of the early ethos remains at the nursery as the photographs above show. The nursery was filmed by British Pathé News in the 1939 (part of the footage was from a 1930 visit by Queen Mary – there is more on this later in the post).

So what of the journey of the sisters to Deptford?  Their parents were originally from Inverness but had emigrated to New York State in 1840, Margaret was born in 1860 and Rachel in 1859. They returned to Inverness following the death of their father and sister, Elizabeth, in 1865.

Their mother died in 1877 and Rachel remained in Inverness to look after her very ill grandmother.  Margaret left Inverness and trained as a governess.

In 1887 Rachel visited a cousin in Edinburgh, whilst there she heard a sermon preached by the Christian Socialist, John Glasse – about whom was written that he ‘gathered around him many ardent idealists, to whom he administered doses of Proudon and Marx … the faithful were favoured with the words of wisdom from the lips of Morris, Kropotkin, Stepniak and other distinguished visitors.’  Rachel was also introduced to John Gilray who gave her copies of Justice, a socialist newspaper and Peter Kropotkin’s ‘Advice to the Young’, and took her to a number of socialist meetings in the city.

The sisters’ grandmother died the following year and Rachel joined Margaret in London and both worked in homes for young girls. Rachel shared her Socialist views with Margaret and they attended political meetings where they met many of the important socialist and anarchist thinkers of the day including William Morris, Henry Hyndman, Peter Kropotkin – whose time in Bromley was covered in the blog a while ago – and Ben Tillet.

They became involved with the Christian Socialism that had first impressed Rachel in Edinburgh but also joined the Fabian Society, the Labour Church, Hyndman’s Social Democratic Federation and later the newly formed Independent Labour Party (ILP).

The moved to Bradford in the early 1890s and became involved in campaigning to improve the physical, emotional and intellectual welfare of the poorest children through improvements to housing, free school meals and early medical inspections of school children.

The sisters returned to London in 1902 and remained actively involved in campaign for free school meals, which was enacted as part of the Liberal Welfare Reforms in 1906.  They lived at 127 George Lane in Hither Green for a while after their return to London – commemorated by one of Lewisham’s maroon plaques.

image

The remained convinced about the need for medical inspections within schools and opened the first school clinic in Bow in 1908.  Margaret and Rachel McMillan opened another, the Deptford Clinic, in 1910 which served a number of schools in the area providing a range of services including General health checks, some dentistry, lessons in posture and breathing.

The McMillan Nursery followed a few years later, while Rachel died on 25th March, 1917.  Margaret continued the run the Nursery also serving on the London County Council and setting up a training college for teachers and nurses in Deptford,  the Rachel McMillan College. The College was opened by the Queen in May 1930 and captured by British Pathé News; it was taken over by the London County Council after WW2 and eventually became part of Goldsmiths College.

Margaret died the following year – her friend Walter Cresswell wrote a memoir of the sisters, remarking about them

Such persons, single-minded, pure in heart, blazing with selfless love, are the jewels of our species. There is more essential Christianity in them than in a multitude of bishops.

The sisters are buried in the same plot on the Brockley side of Brockley and Ladywell Cemetery – a peaceful location despite the proximity to Brockley Road.

image

Alfred Figes – (Probably) The Oldest World War 1 Soldier

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.

The Ode for Remembrance, taken from a Lawrence Binyon poem, ‘For the Fallen’ paints the generally accepted picture of young combatants, echoed in Wilfred Owen’s ‘Anthem for Doomed Youth.’ So one of the stranger inscriptions on the WW1 memorial on the ‘Lewisham side’ of the Brockley and Ladywell Cemetery is that of Alfred Figes who died in 1916 at the age of 79.  While Kitchener had been keen to get former soldiers back into the army, the theoretical age limit was 42.  So Alfred Figes signed up as ‘William Word’ and, unless he was phenomenally young looking, the recruiting officers turned a blind eye to his advanced years, presumably in the same way as they ignored the youth of others, like Catford’s Herbert Burden  The posters are both from Wikimedia Commons, more details left and right.

The Kentish Times  (quoted in the Lewisham War Memorial wiki) reported his as having been given a military funeral following his death at home in late 1916 at 79 Bradgate Street (now Road) in Catford.  

It is unclear when Figes signed up, but he may well have seen action at The Bluff on the Ypres Salient where his regiment, the 3rd Battalion of the Rifle Brigade fought in the first part of 1916.

WW1 wasn’t Figes only period in the army, he had fought in the Indian Mutiny in 1857.  His period in the army may have followed a spell in prison; in 1854, someone of the same unusual name was found guilty of dog stealing and was sentenced to a month’s imprisonment with hard labour – the newspaper report described Figes and his co-defendant Charles Smeyd as ‘flash looking fellows’. By the 1881 census he was a booksellers assistant living in St James, Westminster and was married Elizabeth Harvey in 1870 and had two children.

It was clearly a family tradition in continue first names – his first son (a postman living in Lewisham in the 1901 census) and grandson were both called Alfred.  The then 63 year old Alfred was a publishers assistant living at 32 Foxberry Road in Brockley in 1901.

But why a man in his late 70s thought the need to volunteer for service is anyone’s guess?  It could have been a wish to revisit days of his youth, it could have been a response to the recruitment campaigns, or it could have been a desire to serve with his sons who seem to have volunteered. While he died as a soldier, it is also unclear is whether he actually died as a result of war wounds or old age, that he is commemorated on the memorial at Brockley and Ladywell Cemetery would suggest that he might have been the former.  If it was as a result of he is probably the oldest combatant victim of the war – the oldest British volunteer currently seems to be accepted as being Harry Webber who was 67, the same age as the oldest German combatant.

By a strange co-incidence, Alfred Figes daughter, Clara, married Alfred, the older brother of Herbert Burden who is depicted in the ‘Shot at Dawn’ memorial at the National Memorial Arboretem.  Herbert was one of the youngest soldiers shot for ‘cowardice and desertion’ during WW1.

The Clouson Memorial and the Eltham Murder

There is a memorial in Ladywell and Brockley Cemetery with a tall column and an almost cherubic figure on top; whilst the rest of the cemetery is fairly cramped in terms of space the memorial stands alone in grassed area, often with flowers at its base brought by Women Against Violence Expressing Solidarity (WAVES)

P1020448.JPG
On reading its inscription, one begins to understand why this is different to most of the other graves and memorials.

A motherless girl who was murdered in Kidbrooke Lane, Eltham age 17 in 1871. Her last words were, “Oh, let me die.”

The ‘girl’ was Jane Maria Clouson and she had been found by a police officer, patrolling what is now Rochester Way, in the early hours of 25 April 1871, somewhere around what is now its junction with Brenley Gardens – as a witness at the subsequent trial noted that it was around 300 yards from a ‘rivulet’ (Lower Kid Brook). She had been severely beaten with a hammer and died of her injuries five days later in Guy’s Hospital.

IMG_0532.JPG
Jane Clouson was identified on 1 May by relatives and the police arrested Edmund Pook, the son of her former employer, the same day. She had been dismissed from the household at 3 London Street (now Greenwich High Road) – the Pooks suggested that this was because of her laziness and unkempt appearance; although Jane Clouson’s family suggested that this was because Edmund had got her pregnant and had no intention of marrying her.

There were several hearings in relation to the case – the main one being at the Old Bailey where after 5 days of evidence, the jury took just 20 minutes to acquit Pook; two earlier hearings at Coroners and Police Courts, where Pook had offered little evidence, had found him guilty; and a libel case a month after the criminal case found in Pook’s favour.

There is a very detailed summary of the evidence presented at the fantastic resource of the Old Bailey online. It is clear from there that the police and prosecution struggled to prove the case against Edmund Pook ‘beyond all reasonable doubt.’ The case still provokes extremely partisan interest, so I’ll summarise the case from each viewpoint.

The case for the prosecution (presented by a relative of the Jane Clouson) was that a witness had seen someone looking like Pook around Kidbrooke Lane just before the time of the murder; a bloodied hammer had been found close to Morden College; Pook had been seen buying a hammer; blood was found on his clothes; Pook had been having affair with Jane Clouson, had made her pregnant and they were still seeing each other after her dismissal.

P1020449.JPG
The case for the defence (presented by a relative of the Pooks) was that Edmund Pook had been positively seen in Lewisham at around the time of the murder; that the specs of blood on his clothes related to him biting his tongue with epileptic fits; the police witnesses were unreliable; there was no positive identification of him having bought the hammer from the shop’s owners; no evidence was produced of anyone having seen them together and a locket which was suggested to have been given to Jane by Edmund was in fact a present from another former Pook employee named Humphries.

There was a large amount of public interest in the case and the funeral on 8 May seems to have been a major local event. The road between the relative’s house in Deptford, where the cortege started from and the cemetery was lined with thousands of people, with police controlling the crowds. The pall bearers were all woman dressed in maids uniforms. The listed memorial was erected soon following a public subscription.

While there appears to have been some hostility towards Pook after the verdict, however, this was not sufficient to prevent the family business continuing at the same address in the 1881 census.  Edmund married Alice soon after and they remained in Greenwich – the business had moved to Church Street by the 1908 Kelly’s Directory.  Edmund and Alice were living in St Peter Port in Guernsey when the census enumerators called in 1911; he was still working as a printer.  Alice died in the Channel Islands around 1916, Edmund returned to England and died in Croydon in 1920.

The way in which the police pursued the case was criticised by both the judge and in the House of Commons at the time. However, they seemed uninterested in pursuing anyone else; in early 1888 the Australian police detained Michael Carroll who confessed to the murder. The Sydney Police offered to detain him but Scotland Yard Authorities did not want to even question him.

Whoever the murderer was, Jane Clouson was the victim of a terrible, vicious attack and died far, far too young.

Running with W. G. Sebald

Today’s run was on a gloomy, miserable afternoon with little bits of drizzle in a slight breeze, but that didn’t matter as it was mainly through two of my favourite places in South East London, Nunhead and Brockley & Ladywell cemeteries.

Had there been some sun, the last of the autumn colours would have been fantastic, but, without that, my focus was more on the gravestones and memorials.

IMG_0516.JPG
It brought to my mind a quote from W G Sebald’s fantastic ‘Austerlitz’ wandering through another of the Magnificent Seven cemeteries, Tower Hamlets in the East End:

In the twilight slowly falling over London we walked along the paths of the cemetery, past monuments erected by the Victorians to commemorate their dead, past mausoleums, marble crosses, stelae and obelisks, bulbous urns and statues of angels many of them wingless or otherwise mutilated, turned to stone, so it seemed to me at the very moment when they were about to take off… Some of the graves themselves had risen from the ground or sunk into it, so that you might think that an earthquake had shaken this abode of the departed.

As for the rest of the week’s running I ought to start with an apology to Veterans AC. That I was able to run a decent interval session on Monday rather suggests that I should have run a somewhat faster cross country race last week at Epsom, I doubt the places that I would have gained will make much difference come the end of the season in the club’s promotion challenge though (we are currently next to bottom of the league….) I also managed a tempo run on Friday in addition to around 9 midweek miles.

Charles Cox & The Army Cyclist Corps

I first noticed the name of Charles Cox of the Army Cyclist Corps on the WW1 memorial on the Lewisham side of Brockley and Ladywell Cemetery several years ago. At the time I was reading John Foot’s excellent history of Italian cycling ‘Pedalare! Pedalare!’. This included sections on cyclists in WW1 – including the amazing tale of the one legged Enrico Toti, and in WW2 where Giro and Tour de France winner Gino Bartalli used his cycle to smuggle false papers allowing Jews to escape from Mussolini’s regime. I was unaware though of their World War 1 British counterparts, and it got me interested.

IMG_0389.JPG
The main role of the army cyclists was patrolling the coastline. Some units were sent into active service to provide reconnaissance and communications support. However, they tended to be ineffective in trench warfare and spent much time trench holding duties and manual work. There is a Wikipedia photo below of them in the Somme in 1917.

IMG_0387.JPG
There were some very specific recruitment posters for them, the last line of one in Wikipedia makes me smile.

IMG_0388.JPG
As for Charles George William Cox, he was born in Bermondsey and later moved with his parents to 78 Alloa Road in Deptford. By the 1911 census, he was a postman living in West London with a manager at the sorting office who was also a Bermondsey boy – perhaps he had helped him get the job which oddly had to be listed in the London Gazette. He married Elizabeth Caroline Brown in December 1911 in Brentford. By the time he enlisted, Cox’s address was given as 2 Benbow Road in Hammersmith.

Which regiment he was in remains unclear – he enlisted in London, so it is likely to have been one of the three Kent Battalions. Their role was, initially at least, one of ‘guarding key points and patrolling the coastline to deter invasion and catch spies’.

Charles Cox was listed as ‘B Company’ which was based at the Training Centre in Tonbridge. How he died is unclear, it is possible that he might have been posted to India and was wounded in action – the First Batallion was stationed there from early 1916 onwards – or it could have related to injury or illness in Britain.

Where he died is also slightly unclear, one of his army records suggests that he died at home in Forest Hill, but ‘home’ would presumably have been either Bembow Road or Alloa Road, although it is possible that his parents had to move during the war. If he died in Forest Hill it could have been that he was at one of the auxillary WW1 hospitals, the Fairlawn, in Honor Oak Road. Wherever, he died, he died young, at the age of 28, and when in the cemetery I always go by the memorial and pause for a moment by the inscription of his name.

IMG_0384.JPG