A requiem mass was held at St Augustine’s Abbey for Richard Shirburne Weld-Blundell, a 2nd Lieutenant in the 7th Battalion, King’s (Liverpool) Regiment who died on 1st January 1916 at 19 Albion Street, Ramsgate. According to his death certificate the cause was “Injuries to the brain caused by a fall – accidental death”.
A former pupil of St Placid’s school in Mildred Road, Ramsgate, Richard had emigrated with his brother to British Columbia but had returned to fight when war broke out. He left a widow and a newborn infant daughter. Continue reading Richard Shirburne WELD-BLUNDELL
Thanet Times February 25th 1916
Sgt Wilkinson was formerly an employee of Mr Deveson the butcher in Grange Road. After Sgt Wilkinson died the paper published a poem he had written.
I haven’t got a feather bed
Nor yet a blooming pillow
My overcoat supports my head
My canteen lid’s my mirror
But be a sport and show your pluck
And help God strafe the Kaiser
And if you stop one – well that’s luck
And you’re not much the wiser.
Remember too it doesn’t hurt
You don’t get time to feel it
Supposing that it really did
Just look what’s there to heal it.
The finest hand of nursing girls
That ever drew God’s breath
With snow white frocks and golden hair
And then you talk of death.
Why blimey mate you should be proud
To die with these around you.
Come on, old sport, and join the crowd
And let the doctor sound you.
Its men we want, not girls in plush,
Like some of your poor blighters.
So you should read this and don’t blush
But go and join the fighters.
There were four brothers in the Abbott family who lived in St Luke’s Avenue. William, Richard and Alfred were in the army and another brother was in the Navy.The following article appeared in the local paper at the end of September 1916.
Mr and Mrs W Abbott of 21 St Luke’s Avenue , Ramsgate are anxious regarding the safety of their boy, Pte Richard Abbott, of a service Battalion of the Buffs, who has been reported wounded and missing since August 18th. Coincident with the news of his disappearance is revealed a family war service record of an unusually interesting character. The missing soldier enlisted on November 5th, 1914, when he was only 17 years of age. Another son, Shoeing Smith A Abbott, of the RFA enlisted at the same age, but not to be outdone another son driver W Abbott, joined the forces at the age of 15. He is now sixteen years old, but has seen close upon 12 months service at the Front with his battery. At the beginning of August of this year, a surprise meeting at the Front took place between this plucky young Ramsgatonian and the brother who is now missing.The latter brother was unaware that his brother had enlisted, and was astounded at seeing him, under such conditions. Realising that he must have enlisted by giving his age as at least 19, he made efforts to ensure that he would be sent home, and the result is that the lad is now detained for home service.
Continue reading Plucky Ramsgate lads
The Orkney Heritage Society is raising funds to restore the Kitchener Memorial tower in Birsay, Orkney, which was erected in 1926, and to add a commemorative wall to the hundreds of crewmen who died aboard HMS Hampshire in 1916.
HMS Hampshire, a Royal Navy cruiser, was carrying Lord Kitchener on a diplomatic mission to Russia when it hit German mines off the coast of Birsay during gale-force conditions. Only 12 men survived the sinking, and the Orkney Heritage Society wants to ensure that those who lost their lives alongside the War Minister are remembered on the memorial.
There is some disagreement over exactly how many men were lost when the HMS Hampshire sank but it is currently believed to be about 735. The exact number may never be known. Local men lost included Ldg Stoker Fred Bean 24 mentioned on St Laurence war memorial, Ldg Telegraphist John Victor Bear 22 from Queen Bertha Road and Harry Maxted from St Peters. Lord Kitchener himself was also a local man as in 1911 he had bought Broome Park near Canterbury and was there on leave when he was called on to form Britain’s army in August 1914.
The memorial is due to be unveiled on the centenary of the sinking on the June 5th 2016.
The Thanet Advertiser 8th January 1916
Life becomes daily more complex in war time. “Twelve short, sharp blasts” I now murmur in my sleep. The possessor of a sadly inefficient memory, I have been endeavouring to learn by heart the latest musical exercise.
“Twelve short, sharp blasts” I repeat at breakfast, dinner, tea and before going to bed, with the hope that having impressed the instructions on my mind I may comport myself with calmness and with dignity when the siren sounds the shrill, short, sharp signals.
“To avoid confusion” runs the official notice, “the inhabitants are particularly requested to notice that this fire alarm signal is distinctive from the signal to be given in case of an aircraft raid or bombardment by ships, either at Ramsgate, Margate or Broadstairs.” The authorities are so considerate, so thoughtful, so motherly. Most people would be gratified for the warning. Alas – and I confess it with abject shame – I have quite forgotten the signal which is to be given in case of air raid or bombardment at either Ramsgate, Margate or Broadstairs.
My one recollection of the signal is not a happy one. I was shocked out of that sound slumber which is the just reward of the guiltless by an unearthly syrenical shriek – and for a week afterwards the life of some well-meaning but misguided official at Broadstairs would have terminated abruptly had he the misfortune to meet me.
Now, however, I am in calmer mood, and I wait in pleasant anticipation each Saturday morning for the gentle blast from Boundary Road. I should have been sorely disappointed had the instrumentalist been given a little holiday on Christmas morn. But at ten o’clock on the tick he cheerfully piped away his weekly serenade. “Twelve, short, sharp blasts.”