Who in Green Bay Served in WW1?

Who in Green Bay Served in WW1?

July 1, 1916 was the bloodiest day in the history of the British Army. And the battle on that day near the French village of Beaumont Hamel meant decimation for the Royal Newfoundland Regiment.

Casualty numbers for the Royal Newfoundland Regiment at Beaumont Hamel vary a little, depending on which website you check. But The Rooms reports a 85% casualty rate.  233 were dead, 386 wounded and 91 reported missing (later presumed dead) after less than 30 minutes. In about the time it takes you to watch a sitcom, 710 Newfoundland men were literally mowed down by German machine guns.

That is about 25 men a minute.

That the island of Newfoundland took a huge punch in the gut on that day is no secret. Many people still commemorate July 1. And reaching 100 years since it happened means extra acknowledgements in 2016.

What is slipping away is the local knowledge here of the toll on Green Bay. Boys and men from our coves also walked towards the barbed wire defences of the German lines on July 1916, with their heads tucked down against the evil hiss of bullets. They also served at Gallipoli, and in Belgium. They also went to a war they thought would just be “a great adventure”. Some returned. Some did not. The people who knew them have passed on. Even their children may have passed on. It is often the case now that these boys and men are now but names on a cold stone epitaph, with cars passing by.

The Impact
As it did on the island as a whole, the casualties of World War 1 had a serious impact on Green Bay. We can easily imagine that everyone knew someone who had died in the war, or knew someone who lost a family member in the war. There are memorials erected in Springdale, Pilley’s Island and on Long Island. Long Island was affected to the point that residents of communities there, Ward’s Harbour and Cutwell Arm, both changed the community names to include the word “Beaumont”. An older gentleman in King’s Point, born in 1933, reported he understood that World War 1 so bothered this area that enlistment numbers for World War 2 stayed low.

WW1 WW2 epitaph in springdale nl
The epitaph in Springdale. The epitaph in Pilley’s Island is at the top of this post.

Who Were They?
Heritage Newfoundland and Labrador has a wonderful section on its website dedicated to the role Newfoundland played in the First World War. There are group photos of members of the Royal Newfoundland Regiment, some looking barely old enough to shave. Many family names familiar to us in Green Bay are on these pages: Coish, Bursey, Noseworthy, England, and Snow.

screen grab of heritage nf web page
Click/tap the screen grab above to open the www.heritage.nf.ca web page in a new browser tab

 

epitaph in springdale nl
The epitaph in Springdale

There is also a page of individual portraits on the heritage.nf.ca website. If you scroll down to the 29th row, you will see a photo of William White from Rattling Brook. (Perhaps he was known as ‘Will’, or ‘Bill’.) William was 20 years old when he enlisted in St. John’s in June 1915.  He said he was a fisherman. His father’s name was John.

William was gunned down on July 1, 1916, just a little over a year after he joined up.  He was buried near Beaumont Hamel.

To the left of Will is a photo of Frank, from what is now Beachside. Frank enlisted at 18 years old, and was declared presumed dead in October of 1918. He has no known grave.

Extra Level of Tragedy
There were two brothers from Springdale killed in in the same year, 1917. Their names were Walter and George Clarke.  Walt was killed April 14, George died on October 9. Their parents wrote letters to the army trying at least to learn where their two children were buried.

The same thing happened to another Springdale family. Hugh and Alex Williams, sons of Martin and Lucy Williams, were also both killed. Alex was reported wounded and missing October 12, 1916. Hugh was killed in action December 1, 1917.

The Roll Call
The following list is of some local men who served in World War 1.

Some personal details are provided below, to say a little of who some of these men were as people. The extra facts were more or less randomly chosen from available facts in war documents.

Names link to the those war documents, copies hosted online by The Rooms.

Some of the men listed below got so tantalizingly close to the end of the war on November 11, 1918. But their lives were cut down just weeks before. Others made it through the war, only to die shortly after.

This list is long.

Oswald Knight Batstone
Jackson’s Cove

21 when he signed up
Dark brown eyes and black hair
Contracted dysentery at Gallipoli
Later discharged from the military on medical grounds

Ross Strong Fatality
Jackson’s Cove
18 when he enlisted
Died of wounds April 16, 1918
Find Ross’s full military story and grave photos here

Stanley S Kirby
Silverdale
Brown eyes, was missing part of a finger on his left hand when he enlisted in September 1914
Served in Gallipoli
Was injured at one point
Discharged in November, 1918

Warwick Pearce Upwards Fatality
Harry’s Harbour
19 when he enlisted
Killed in action October 9, 1917

Edgar Blackmore Fatality
Pilley’s Island
Died April 14, 1917
Aged only 21
Buried at Beaumont Hamel Cemetery
Find Edgar’s Full Military Story at the Rooms

Albert Edgar Guy Fatality
Pilley’s Island
Enlisted at 19
Killed in action in France on November 20, 1917
Find Albert’s Full Military Story at the Rooms

John May Fatality
Pilley’s Island
Enlisted at 18
Died of gunshot head wound October 18, 1918
He had enlisted against his mother’s wishes
She sent a letter of protest to the military
Find John’s’ full military story at the Rooms website

Adolphus Locke Fatality
Pilley’s Island
Died of Spanish Flu on Nov. 3, 1918 in General Hospital, St. John’s
Find Adolphus’ full military story at the Rooms

Arthur Henry Pittman Fatality
Pilley’s Island
Died Dec.2, 1917, Buried at Beaumont Hamel
Find Art’s full military story at the Rooms

George Simms Fatality
Pilley’s Island
27 when he enlisted
Was killed in action on December 30, 1915 at Gallipoli
Buried in Turkey
Find George’s full military story on the Room website

Henry Simms Fatality
Pilley’s Island
Killed in action October 25, 1918
Enlisted at 20 years old
Find Henry’s full military story on the Rooms’ website

Albert Edward Metcalf
Pilley’s Island
Had blue eyes
Contracted dysentery at Gallipoli
Discharged in 1917 as “medically unfit” after a gun shot wound to the leg which shattered bone

Pierce Rideout Fatality
Pilley’s Island
Died of tuberculosis in a London hospital
Find Pierce’s full military story on the Rooms’ website

Edward G Starkes Fatality
King’s Point
Killed in action on October 9, 1917 when just 20 years old
Find Ed’s full military story at the Rooms website

Augustus Toms Fatality
King’s Point
Died of wounds (gun shot) in France on February 1, 1917
Find Gus’ full military story at the Rooms website

William Arthur White Fatality
Rattling Brook
Killed in action at Beaumont Hamel on July 1, 1916
Find William’s full military story at the Rooms website

George S Clarke Fatality
Springdale
Declared missing in action, presumed dead, October 9, 1917
He was just 20 years old
He has no known grave
Find George’s full military story at the Rooms website

Walter J Clarke (The brother of George, above) Fatality
Springdale
Declared missing April 14 1917, he was 23
He has no known grave
Find Walt’s full military story at the Rooms website

Aubrey Holmes Fatality
Springdale
Died in France on the 14th of April, 1917
Find Aubrey’s full military story at the Rooms website

Herbert S Inder Fatality
Springdale
25 years old at enlistment
and had been a lumberman
Suffered serious injury in the back from
a shell in October, 1917, and died of those wounds

Arthur Nicholas Penny
Springdale
Had blue eyes, and was 25 when he enlisted
Married in Edinburgh in 1916
Was discharged in 1919

James Patrick Joe
Springdale
Serious and disabling wound in left upper arm in July, 1916
Discharged 1919

Frederick Wells Fatality
Springdale
18 years old at enlistment
Killed in action October 14, 1918
Find Fred’s full military story at the Rooms website

Alexander Williams Fatality
Springdale
Declared wounded and missing on October 12, 1916, he was 26
Family received word dated March 10 1917 that he had been declared Killed in Action
Find Alex’s full military story at the Rooms website

Hugh Williams Fatality
Springdale
18 when he signed up
Killed in action on December 1, 1917. He was 19
Find Hugh’s full military story at the Rooms website

Harold DeLouchrey Fatality
Little Bay
Enlisted at 18
Killed in action in France on October 18, 1916
Buried at Beaumont Hamel
Find Harold’s full military story at the Rooms website

Francis Thomas Lind Fatality
Little Bay
34 at enlistment, killed on July 1, 1916
Find Francis’ full military story at the Rooms website

Albert Folkes Fatality
Little Bay
Almost 21 when he signed up
Died of wounds (to both legs, left arm and face) on March 13, 1918

Chesley G Murcell
Little Bay Islands
Aged 23 at enlistment
Light hair, blue eyes
He weighed just 134lbs at enlistment
Fought at Gallipoli
He seems to later have fought in France
and isn’t listed as a fatality

Norman Wheatley Strong Fatality
Little Bay Islands
Aged 19 at enlistment
Killed in action at Beaumont Hamel on July 1, 1916
Find Norm’s full military story at the Rooms website

Gordon A White Fatality
Little Bay Islands
24 years old at enlistment
Died of wound to right thigh on October 15, 1918
Find Gordon’s full military story at the Rooms website

Aldolphus Wiseman Fatality
Little Bay Islands
22 when enlisted
Missing and believed killed in action in France on October 12, 1916
Find Adolphus’ full military story at the Rooms website

Frank Roberts Fatality
Wild Bight (Beachside)
Was a fisherman before the war and enlisted at 18
Wounded in the left hand
Later wounded in the face by shrapnel
Later diagnosed with diphtheria in 1917
Then reported missing in action on March 14, 1918
His mother wrote a letter to the military in September wondering if her son was dead or not
He was declared presumed dead in October
Find Frank’s Full Military Story at the Rooms Website

Adolphus Garrett Heath Fatality
Long Island
Served in Gallipoli
18 when enlisted
Later severely wound in France and died of wounds in England on April 24, 1917
Find Adolphus’ full military story at the Rooms website

Nathaniel Croucher Fatality
Long Island
Enlisted at 19
Reported missing on July 1, 1916
Find Nathaniel’s full military story at the Rooms website

Victor Colbourne
Lushes Bight
Joined at 19
Discharged April 12, 1919

Levi Normore  Fatality
Long Island (Cutwell Harbour, although another source states he was from Pilley’s Island)
25 at enlistment
Missing in action April 14, 1917, later presumed dead
Buried at Beaumont Hamel
Find Levi’s full military story at the Rooms website

Andrew Burton
Long Island
Enlisted at 19 years old
Declared missing and wounded in April 1918
Declared presumed dead November 9, 1918
Find Andrew’s full military story on the Rooms website

Willis Burton
Long Island (Ward’s Harbour)
Enlisted at 21 years old
Killed in action July 10, 1917
Find Willis’ full military story at the Room’s website

Alfred Perry
Long Island (Ward’s Harbour)
5’8, 134lbs
Brown hair, blue eyes
Enlisted at 21 years old
In France, a shell shattered his legs and both were amputated
He died of those wounds on January 21, 1917. He was 24
Find Al’s full military story at the Room’s website

*Do you have information or photos to share about any of these men? Please contact Green Bay Feed.
This article can be edited, and more articles are planned.

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