By 1915, the second year of the war, more men were wanted but not just for fighting.
The demand for supplies – food, clothing, transport, weapons, ammunition, everything necessary for men to fight – demanded more men to get them to the army. As Lake’s Falmouth Packet said, “An appeal was made for men to act as transport workers.” Word spread that they would be munition workers (loading & unloading ammunition).
In response to the call men went to their local recruitment centre where they were given a Notice which informed them of the conditions of service. When they attested they had to swear they had read and understood it. From January 1915 the Helston local Recruiting Officer was Mr. H. M. Blackwell of Helston. The Cornishmen however received their Notice at Whitehall.
The Helston men were sent for a medical on Wednesday 5th or Tuesday 6th of July at St. Austell. My grandfather was described as muscular, weight 150 lbs. chest 37 ins. expansion 3 ins. and height 5’ 3” – (the same as me.) They were issued with travel passes to Paddington; the War Ministry had taken over the railways when war was declared.
Early in the morning of Wednesday, the 7th of July, Richard Henry Polglase left his home in 33, Wendron Street, Helston, to walk to the railway station.
He left behind his wife, Amelia Jane and his son Philip Henry, just turned 13. Further up Wendron Street at 49 lived his brothers and a sister. As he reached the end of Godolphin road he passed the home of Richard Joseph James’ parents at No. 1 and turned left to the road to the station. The volunteers who met at Helston station were Hender, James, Jury, Liddicoat, Norman, Polglase, Smith, and Trebilcock.
They boarded the train and the Helston line took them past Truthall Halt, Nancegollan and Praze to Gwinear Road station. There they left the local train & crossed to the main G.W.R. platform to catch the train to London.
Already on board were Richard Friggens & James Frederick Hosking from Penzance.
At Camborne the Helston men looked out for James Tremelling then living there in Church Street.
William Buddle, Edward James, William Henry Rudd, also came on board; at Redruth William Eslick, and William John Truran joined them.
As the journey progressed the train halted at stations crowded with volunteers meeting up with their neighbours and friends. Big groups from Falmouth, Truro, and St. Austell filled the train. Many, I expect, with pasties and bottles of cold tea or beer. At Falmouth there was some excitement – William James Cavill, a carrier for R. & J. Lean, was caught up in the general enthusiasm. He left horse and wagon at the station and joined his pals.
The crowds at Truro & St Austell included men who came on the branch lines from the rest of the county – men from Falmouth, Penryn, Grampound Road, Par, St Blazey, Biscovey, St Columb, St Dennis, Liskeard, Mevagissey, Newlyn East, Penrhyn, Pentewan, Point, Roche, Tuckingmill, Tywardreath Highway. So the train collected the volunteers as it went on to Cornwall’s border.
Some men, travellers in the Cornish tradition, had crossed Brunel’s masterpiece, the Royal Albert bridge, before. Others experienced for the first time the illusion of the rise and fall of the two main spans. One looked down to the ferry where he and his family had worked for years.
The train finally jolted to a halt in the great Paddington station. Uniformed officers met them on the platform, ordered them outside and drew them up in ranks of four – military life was beginning. A morale-boosting band led them from the station along Praed Street to its junction with Edgware Road. Down the old Watling Street they walked under buildings higher than any even in Truro.
They marched on the way to enlistment in a rather straggly manner with four well-dressed men in the first rank. My grandfather is wearing a bowler and is first on the left of the column, in front of the horse and cart. The other three men with my grandfather are not, I think, from Helston, but are of similar height. Were they also ordered according to height?
The sight of volunteers from the depths of Cornwall served as an encouragement to men still uncommitted.
Marching in fours in a rather straggly manner on the way to enlistment. Each four, I believe, has been matched according to height before leaving Paddington station.
At the end of Edgware Road the view widened and they saw grand Marble Arch.
Down Oxford Street they passed wondrous Selfridges the “cathedral of shopping” opened only six years before and took the route which led to the Whitehall Central Recruiting Office, No. 4 Great Scotland Yard. At the Enlistment Centre they read the Notice, took the Oath of Loyalty, signed the Short Service Army Form B.2505 and were allocated their regimental number.
The Letter Prefix SS = Supply Special (trade).
Some parts were stamped in – Service, Date, T.B. Clutson, Recruiting Staff – on thousands of forms.
See the Great War Forum.
They were next transported to Aldershot, where they were issued with uniforms and began training.
JACKETS, Service Dress
TROUSERS, Service Dress
BADGES, CAP ……………SETS
BRUSH, SHAVING: BRUSH, TOOTH
DISC, IDENTITY, NO.1, GREEN, WITH CORDS
“ “ NO. 2, RED, “ “
KNIFE, CLASP, WITH LANYARD, without marline spike.
Men were photographed in uniform, some in the same studio as my Grandfather, and sent the pictures home. Some families visited and were photographed with them. See Richard Hunt’s website.
Photos taken at Aldershot of Richard Henry POLGLASE and with three other men.
Photos of W.H. Hare and J. Stephens taken in the same Aldershot studio as R.H. Polglase.
Photos taken at Aldershot
They are wearing a utility/economy tunic (no pocket pleats or shoulder patches) often seen on soldiers of the Service Battalions from the so-called Kitchener’s Army. The official title of that type of uniform was ‘simplified pattern’ and it was issued generally between September 1914 and July 1915, specifically to assist the manufacturers to make the jackets more quickly and catch up with the demand. Although the pleats were taken out of the chest pockets, they were made half as deep again so that they still had the same capacity.
(Thanks to Bob “Frogsmile” of the Great War Forum).
The 18th Labour Company was formed on the 17th July 1915, destined to serve “somewhere overseas” at 3/- per day. The Company was part of reinforcements for the 29th Division in Gallipoli (it later served with the BEF in Calais and Dunkirk). There were many Cornishmen, Londoners and men from the south-eastern counties: one wonders how they understood each other.
The two Commanding Officers of the 18th.Company, Lieutenant William Louis Bullen Lund and Lieutenant Edward Burtt were also volunteers.
A supplement of the 14th. July 1915 to the London Gazette states:
ARMY SERVICE CORPS
The undermentioned to be temporary Lieutenants:-
Dated 26th June, 1915. Dated 1st July 1915
William Bullen Lund. Edward Burtt.
Officers’ uniforms were privately made, and so varied quite considerably in detail and materials used; notwithstanding, the amendments to “standard” uniform that would have been made by individual officers to minimize the chances of being targeted as such by the enemy.
Officers pay was accounted for by Regimental Agents (Cox’s or Holt’s) and paid to bank accounts.
They cashed cheques, or in some circumstances there was a special form for “Cash Advances to Officers.”
Each Officer did have an AB 439 Officer’s Record of Service Book, which was more of an official notation of service history rather than an identification book as such.
Officers had an advance book, initially the largish old style cheques.
CLOTHING Officers were expected to purchase their own uniform from selected military outfitters, SWAGGER STICKS by mid to late 1915 they had reverted back to senior NCOs’ & Officers use only. Courtesy of http://www.tommy1418.com
On the 30th May 1915 Mrs. Wentworth Vardon Brown of Beaumonts, Edenbridge, wrote to her neighbour Henry Crichton Sclater. She addressed him as General Sclater; he was Adjutant-General of the Forces, under Lord Kitchener.
Mrs. Wentworth Brown wanted advice on how her brother, Edward Burtt, could obtain a commission. She said her brother wished very much to try to get a commission in the Army Service Corps. He had been drilling with ‘The Old Boys Corps’ since last September and was so anxious to do something more. He was an athlete, could drive a car, and aged about 40.
Could General Sclater give him an introduction to Major Jellicoe (Deputy Assistant Director at the War Office), if that is who to apply to?
Edward’s home was Hazeldene Cottage, General Sclater’s Holmwood, both in Edenbridge.
Edward Burtt’s birth was registered in the March Quarter of 1869 which means he was at least 46 in 1915. He was born in Camberwell, Surrey, his father Edward Robert Burtt, his mother Ellen Mary nee Killick. He had an older brother Charles Killick and a sister Ethel Mary (the Mrs. Wentworth-Brown of the letter).
There is a Baptism entry for St. George’s Church, Camberwell, for the year 1870:
Born: 24th December 1869. Baptised: 31st. January 1870. Edward.
Parents: Edward Robert & Ellen Mary Burtt. Abode: Lime Works, Canal Bank. Trade: Lime Merchant.
I have not found a birth for an Edward Burtt in 1874.
The Burtts had been lime merchants in Camberwell from early in the 19th century. Their business and home was on the side of the Grand Surrey Canal.
“We are told that the lime kiln was built in 1816 by local man Edward Burtt, whose business, Burtt’s Yard, developed a substantial presence in the area, with various buildings, and cottages surrounding it, where workers lived and worked turning limestone into quicklime, for making cement. It operated until around 1880, when the railway system meant that canal transport was not so important.” It was “in use until the 1960s, when raw materials were unloaded directly from boats onto the wharves along the canal.”
The Burtt family’s Lime Kiln, Burgess Park.
By 1881 Edward Robert Burtt, our Edward’s father, had moved to Eagle Lodge, Marlpit Hill, Edenbridge, Kent. Charles, his grandfather and Charles Terwin, an uncle, were still in London at 7, Wiltshire Road, Lambeth.
Edward and brother Charles Killick were scholars in Tonbridge Castle School, Castle Street, Tonbridge. The Principal was Charles I. M. Wauton, son of the Curate-in-charge of the Parish Church. He “carried on there a very successful preparatory school for boys.” p. 347 The Tonbridge of Yesterday: Arthur H. Neve: Tonbridge Free Press, Ltd in 1933. see http://theweald.org/P2.asp?PId=TN.Cstle
Principal Wauton was still there in 1891 but the school closed in 1899, at the end of his lease, when the Tonbridge council bought the Castle and its grounds for the townspeople. Edward and Charles meanwhile had moved to Tonbridge School in 1883, leaving in 1885, according to the EASTER TERM Register for 1883. In the summer of 1888 Edward must have been at the works as, age 19, he rescued a boy from the canal. He joined his father and brother in the business as manager of the lime works. In 1900 the partnership of father and sons was dissolved according to the notice in THE LONDON GAZETTE, of September 7:
Notice is hereby given, that the partnership heretofore subsisting between us the undersigned, Edward Robert Burtt, Charles Killick Burtt, and Edward Burtt, carrying on business as Lime Burners and Merchants, Dealers in Building and Drainage materials and General Wharfingers, at the Lime Works, near Wells Street by the Grand Surrey Canal, at Camberwell, S.E. in the county of Surrey,and administrative county of London, under the style or firm of E. R. Burtt and Sons has been dissolved by mutual consent as and from the 30th day of June, 1900, the said Edward Robert Burtt retiring from the business. All debts due to and owing by the said late firm will be received and paid by the said Charles Killick Burtt and Edward Burtt who will continue the business as heretofore, under the firm name of E.R.Burtt and Sons” – Dated 3rd day of September,1900.
EDWARD RT. BURTT.
CHARLES KILLICK BURTT.
Charles Killick & Edward continued the business – in 1903 they are the registered owners of a barge the ‘Redshank’.
In her letter to General Slater, Mrs. Wentworth-Brown describes Edward as an athlete. In fact he was a member of the Redhill Lawn Tennis Club, played cricket and went to Switzerland at Christmas for skating and bobsleigh. He was also a member of The Arts Club, a private members club in London founded in 1863, where his interest was scientific.
Her appeal was successful. On the 4th. of June Edward had a medical examination and was passed, as age 41, as fit for military service. The report was “then to be sent to Major Jellicoe at the War Office, London, S.W. as soon as possible.”
On June 5th 1915, Edward completed his APPLICATION FOR APPOINTMENT TO A TEMPORARY COMMISSION IN THE REGULAR ARMY FOR THE PERIOD OF THE WAR.
He says his date of birth is 24th December 1874, he is single, of pure European descent and British born. His permanent address: Hazeldene Cottage, Edenbridge, present address: Constitutional Club, Northumberland Avenue, W.C. He is able to ride but has not done so for the last 6 or 7 years; he can drive a car. He had no previous military experience. He has been drilling with the Old Boys Corps (Tonbridge School) since August 1914, and was desirous of serving in the Army Service Corps, Labour Company. His Certificate of moral character for the last four years was supplied by the Rev. Sydney William Wheatley, Vicar of Four Elms, Edenbridge.
Scattered over the Application form are supplementary notes – above COMMISSION – Lt.;
Proprietor of Firm of Wharfingers; age 41; Labour Coy, when vacancy/ No. 17 Co. 1/7/15; Gazette 1/7/15 Appt. to Depot A.S.C. for Labour Coy: the name Tonbridge is simply written across ‘Evidence candidate has attained good standard of education.’
Edward’s application was successful. At the Constitutional Club he received a notice dated 24th. June:
Temporary Lieutenant…..the 1st. July, 1915. the Officer Commanding, Depot, Army Service Corps, Aldershot (for Labour Co.)
WILLIAM LOUIS BULLEN LUND was born 11th July 1864 in Hampstead, Middlesex, the son of William, a solicitor, and Ottavia Maria (née Castella) Lund. He was educated at Ushaw College, Durham, one of the Catholic schools established in England after the French Revolution, which had continued seemingly unchanged. According to a former pupil, Paul Roche, “Inkwells would freeze in their desks and …… at least a couple of boys would die of pneumonia or of malnutrition every winter.”
His father, also William, was a Director in London of the Bank of Adelaide. See: http://users.picknowl.com.au/~stanbatten/default.6adelpotter.html
“WITH FAITH AND COURAGE” The Bank of Adelaide 1865 – 1965 (Written by the late Ron A Potter)
He married Adeline Burke in London in 1892 and had four surviving children, girls Mildred, Adeline, Octavia and a son Clifford who was serving in the Army Service Corps. Clifford’s birth on 8th April 1893 was announced in The Argus (Melbourne, Victoria) – Adeline came from Melbourne.
He became a member of the Stock Exchange in 1890, was a shareholder in the Commercial Bank of London and became a jobber in the American market. A set back occurred in August 1906 when he was declared a defaulter on the London Stock Exchange. (Manchester Courier ).The Wall Street Journal commented: “ The failure of William Bullen Lund, a member of the Stock Exchange, was announced. The suspension was not considered important London Money was easy at the close, as dividends to the amount of 2,000,000 were released.”
In spite of his age, which would be 51 in July, Willam Louis Bullen Lund, decided to volunteer.
On the 21st of June 1915 he underwent his medical examination and was passed, as age 40, fit for military service. Again the report was “then to be sent to Major Jellicoe at the War Office, London, S.W. as soon as possible.”
On the same day William completed his APPLICATION FOR APPOINTMENT TO A TEMPORARY COMMISSION IN THE REGULAR ARMY FOR THE PERIOD OF THE WAR. He says his date of birth is 11th July, 1874, he is single, of pure European descent and British born. His permanent address: the Stock Exchange, present address: 17, Granville Place, Portman Square, W. (off Oxford Street down which the Cornishmen were to march 16 days later). He is able to ride and was desirous of serving in the Army Service Corps, Labour Company. He had no previous military experience. His Certificate of moral character for the last four years was supplied by the Joseph Pratt, Rector of St. James Spanish Place, 22 George St., Manchester Square, W.
As with Edward Burtt’s record, scattered over the Application form are supplementary notes – above COMMISSION – Lt. Coy.17 Co. 26/6; Gazette 26/6/15 Appt. to Depot A.S.C. for Labour 17 Coy:
He was also successful, receiving the notice of his commission at 17, Granville Place. It was dated 22nd June: Temporary Lieutenant 26th. June, 1915, the Officer Commanding, Depot, Army Service Corps, Aldershot (for No. 17 Labour Co.). Thus he was by office and age senior to Edward Burtt.
Both men gave details of their next of kin:
Brother Chas. K. Burtt 2, Barton Street, Westminster S.W.
Sister Mrs Wentworth Brown Beaumonts, Nr. Edenbridge, Kent
William Bullen Lund
Wife Mrs. Adeline Bullen Lund 17 Granville Place, Portman Square, W.
At this date it is the 17th Labour Company that is their placement, but at some point Burtt and Lund became the Temporary Lieutenants of the 18th.Labour Company, formed on Saturday, 17th July. From that date they had 13 days to form ‘esprit de corps’ in the Company before it left Aldershot.