2016: Centenary of The Battle of the Somme

Friday 1 July marks the centenary of the beginning of The Battle of the Somme. It was the largest battle of the First World War on the Western Front; more than one million men were wounded or killed in the four and a half months it lasted. Among those killed were men from Aldeburgh including:

01-July-1916 Stewart Alexander CRUM
01-July-1916 Philip Squarey HOUGHTON
03-July-1916 Maurice Freshfield JONES
03-July-1916 George MARSHALL 
20-July-1916 Frederick John MOUNTAIN
17-August-1916 Bertie CRACKNELL
22-August-1916 Harry Edward CADY
16-September-1916 Alfred Colby ALLERTON

We will remember them and also:

12-October-1916     Richard HAKEN
12-October-1916     Reginald Ernest PECK

both killed ‘somewhere in France’.

You can read more about these men and all those others who gave their lives during the First World War in “Aldeburgh War Memorial: The story behind the names” by Simon Last and Michael Good.

George Henry Southgate

Another casualty of WW1 was George Henry SOUTHGATE who worked as a porter at Aldeburgh for the Great Eastern Railway, originally joining them at his home town of Woodbridge in February 1912.

He enlisted with the Suffolk Regiment, 4th Battalion in June 1915 as Private 3577.

He was killed in action on 18 August 1916 aged 22 and is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial.

Aldeburgh War Memorial: The Story Behind The Names 1914 – 1918

Aldeburgh War Memorial: The Story Behind The Names 1914-1918

Genealogist Simon Last has produced a number of Suffolk ‘war memorial’ books, his latest being for Aldeburgh. It runs to 176 pages and provides full information about those who died in date of death order. The book builds on research undertaken by former Aldeburgh Mayor, Michael Good before he developed Alzheimer’s.

The book is full of relevant information, such as newspaper reports when war was declared, wartime posters, images of the war memorial and other memorial plaques, photographs of the servicemen and woman (nurse) who gave their lives, details of their families, reports of battles, obituaries, probate information and much more.

The last name in the book is Robert Kersey who died on 10 November 1918, one day before the Armistice.

The niece of two soldiers featured in the book commented:

“… Just to say what a good job you did with the Aldeburgh War Memorial book … It is a marvellous reminder of all those poor fellows who died & I feel I know much more about my own uncles too … Someone has produced something similar about memorials in the Highlands – not a patch on yours as it is only photographs of statues involved & nothing about the people which is what one wants …”

The book is available for sale in the Aldeburgh Book Shop and Baggotts Newsagent both in the High Street in Aldeburgh. Or for those unable to get to Aldeburgh, Simon is able to send out copies in the post. The book costs £10 and with postage and packing the total is £12. If you would like Simon to send you a copy please can you send him a cheque for £12 made payable to Simon Last to:

Charnwood Genealogy
Cumberland House
24-28 Baxter Avenue
Southend on Sea
Essex
SS2 6HZ

Remember to include your own postal address and state if you would like Simon to sign it or not.

Sacrifice of Aldeburgh-born brothers

Two Aldeburgh-born brothers who lost their lives in the First World War are commemorated on the Framlingham memorial:

Charles Edward MANN

  • Private 23939, 2nd Battalion, Grenadier Guards.
  • Died of wounds from a chest injury in No. 5 Field Hospital, 27 March 1918.
  • Born Aldeburgh-on-Sea, Suffolk, enlisted Colchester 26 May 1915.
  • Moved to the Police Station, Framlingham when his father became Police Superintendent. He worked as a clerk at Cobbold’s in Ipswich.
  • After a year’s training he was posted to the 4th Battalion (3rd Guards Brigade) arriving at the Somme serving in the front line of several battles.
  • He was wounded in the September 1916 and returned to England.
  • Returning to France in 1917, he joined the 2nd Battalion and was injured again.
  • After recovery, he fought various battles until his Battalion was relocated to the Arras-Albert railway where he was mortally wounded.
  • His brother, Frederick, also fell (see below).
  • Buried in St. Hilaire Cemetery, Frevent, Pas de Calais, France. Plot V. Row A. Grave 9.

Frederick Michael MANN

  • Private 207060 [CWGC] or T/207066 [SGDW], 7th Battalion, The Queen’s (Royal West Surrey Regiment).
  • Killed in action 4 November 1918. Aged 24.
  • Enlisted Ipswich, resident Framlingham.
  • Son of John Edward and Mary Ann Mann of 35 Beresford Road, Lowestoft.
  • He was born at Aldeburgh, the younger brother of Charles (above).
  • This soldier fell a week before fighting terminated.
  • Formerly 265454, Suffolk Regiment.
  • Buried in Montay-Neuvilly Road Cemetery, Montay, Nord, France. Plot II. Row D. Grave 16.

Source: http://www.roll-of-honour.com/Suffolk/Framlingham.html

1915: A schoolchild’s view of Aldeburgh during wartime

The following brief account of Wartime Aldeburgh in August 1915 by a visiting schoolchild, Jean M Wilson, was published in the Western Mail (Perth, Western Australia) on Friday 5 November, 1915:

OUR LETTER BAG.

A Letter from a Silver Link in England.

Duman, Aldeburgh, Suffolk, England,

August 16.

My Dear Aunt Mary,

The holidays have come round again, so I think I ought to write a few lines to you. We came down here (Aldeburgh, Suffolk) last Friday to stay for a fortnight. Mother is following to-morrow with my aunt. One realises that war is going on down here. In this small village there are about 1,000 soldiers, the town is literally swarming with them. All along the beach there are wire entanglements, tremendously strong. They say it would take the Germans at least half an hour to cut them (if they carne), and in the meantime they could be shot down. There are also on the beach sand-bag trenches and several “dug-outs.” They are really wonderful, just like little houses underground. I should love to go inside one, but the public are not supposed to go within 10 yards of them. We have just come back from seeing soldiers being drilled. It was very interesting. There must have been hundreds of them drilling. On Saturday we went to a fete which was held here in aid of a Y.M.C.A. hut which they are building for the soldiers. There was singing and dancing on the lawn by some little Belgian children and two or three dramatic entertainments, each lasting about three quarters of an hour, a soldiers’ concert, a white elephant auction sale, the band on the lawn, and of course tea. It lasted altogether from about 2.45 p.m. till 8.45 p.m. We have not heard yet how much they got, but they must have got a good bit. Of course they charged 6d. or 3d. each for each entertainment. At the beginning of these holidays I went down to Broadstairs to stay with my Australian friend. I was only there a few days, but during that short time we did a great deal, and I thoroughly enjoyed my short stay. One day we walked up to the North Foreland, and had tea in a Dutch tea house. It was an awfully quaint little place. The waitresses were all dressed as Dutch girls, and everything was Dutch. August 20: On Wednesday we all took our tea out to a little fishing village. Five of us cycled, and mother and Selina went by train. We started about 2.30 and got there about 3.30. It was a lovely day, which added to the enjoyment. We had tea there and wandered about till 5.30, when we came home. Yesterday a friend and myself cycled over to a little village called Leiston. We went after tea, about 6.30, and got back about 7.30. It was lovely. August 30: I have not written for 10 days. During the time we have been out a good deal. On Saturday last we went to a place called Iken Cliff. We went in a sailing boat. The day was perfect, and the water like a mill pond. We had dinner and tea there, and came back about 4.30, arriving home at 8.30. September 2: School takes up again to-morrow, so I must close this letter. I’m afraid it is rather a short one, but I will write a longer one next holidays. I hope the Silver Chain is progressing. Give my love to Babs and Sandra. I hope they are well.

From your loving niece,

JEAN M. WILLIS.