CLACTON: Middlesex Military War Hospital, Holland Road (Convalescent Home)

MIDDLESEX  MILITARY  WAR  HOSPITAL

Holland Road, Clacton-on-Sea, Essex

Middlesex Convalescent Home/Military Hospital, Clacton-on-Sea, Essex. Courtesy of Heather Anne Johnson.

Middlesex Convalescent Home/Military Hospital, Clacton-on-Sea, Essex. Courtesy of Heather Anne Johnson.

There are three WW1 ‘hospitals/homes’ known to have been in Clacton-on-Sea: ‘The Middlesex Military Hospital’ (previously known as ‘The Middlesex Hospital  Convalescent Home’);  ‘The Essex Convalescent Home’; and ‘The Reckitt’s Home Auxiliary Hospital’ (once called ‘The Reckitt Convalescent Home’).   There is no doubt that not all the people who assisted in the running of these establishments have been discovered within records and, thus, they remain un-named.

There is a strong possibility that other Convalescent Homes (of which there were many in Clacton-on-Sea at the time) may have played a role in nursing the returning, wounded or ill soldiers – perhaps regularly or on an odd occasion in times of emergency.  Likewise, they remain un-named.

‘The Middlesex’ at Clacton-on-Sea was a Convalescent Home connected to ‘The Middlesex Hospital’ in Mortimer Street, London.     The Home was built by ‘Young & Hall’ (1895/6) and built on a plot on the northern side of Holland Road.   The Home was opened in 1896.

The Times, Thursday, Jul 02, 1896; pg. 12; Issue 34932:

“Yesterday afternoon the Duke and Duchess of York visited the Middlesex Hospital for the purpose of inaugurating a fete in celebration of the opening of the new convalexcent home connected with the hospital at Clacton-on-Sea.  This home has cost nearly £80,000, and is intended for the reception of patients from the hospital who require to recruit their strength before resuming work.  It is contemplated that in many instances patients will be able to be transferred there before their full course of treatment has been concluded, thus benefiting themselves by a change of air, and at the same time making room in the wards for case of more urgent character.  The maintenance of the home, after its cost has been liquidated, will be provided by the income of a legacy left by the late Mr. Henry Spicer.  The home stands in about five acres of ground, and provides accommodation for 26 men, 17 women, and 12 children.  In addition, provision is made for nurses who, from sickness o other causes, require rest and change of air.” 

The property was converted into flats by ‘G.H.B. Gould’ in 1938/9. [Source: ‘Essex: Buildings of England Series (Buildings of England)’ By James Bettley]

At the outbreak of the First World War, the Joint War Committee took over ‘The Middlesex’. The British Red Cross Hospital Card shows that it administered to a maximum of 130 beds – apparently, some 9,242 military patients were treated there.    It is noted that two “over-age” gynaecological surgeons, George Harold Arthur Comyns Berkeley and William Francis Victor Bonney, ran this Hospital from 1914 to 1919.

Digging up the front lawn of Clacton's WW1 Middlesex Military Hospital, for the war effort. Courtesy of Heather Anne Johnson.

Digging up the front lawn of Clacton’s WW1 Middlesex Military Hospital, for the war effort.                   Courtesy of Heather Anne Johnson.


Friday, 14 August 1914, Essex County Chronicle [sic]:

THE CRY FOR HELP.  The County Organising.   Numerous Patriotic Offers.  Care of the Wounded. “A Willing Helper Does Not Wait To Be Called.”

Essex is always to the fore to answer the cry for help, and she is at one with the nation in the intention to do everything that is necessary for the suffering and distress which the war must unfortunately incur. … … …

RED CROSS WORK.  SPLENDID RESPONSE IN ESSEX.  2,000 MEMBERS: ACCOMMODATION FOR 2,000 PATIENTS.

The voluntary Aid (Red Cross) Detachments in Essex have responded nobly to the call of their country, and the Essex Branch of the British Red Cross Society now consists of 73 Voluntary Aid Detachments with a personnel of about 2,000 of whom some three-fourths are women.   Three of the detachments are formed from the St. John Ambulance Brigade.  For organising purposes the county is divided into divisions corresponding generally with the police divisions of the county.  The Countess of Warwick is president of the branch, and Col. R. B. Colvin, C.B., is the county director.  Each division is controlled by a vice-president and assistant managing director.  The offices of the Branch are now at 74 Duke Street, Chelmsford, with Col. G. H. Coleman, V.D., as hon. Secretary, it being felt that Chelmsford is a more convenient centre than Colchester.

The Voluntary Aid Detachments are officially inspected annually by an officer from the R.A.M.C., who reports to the War Office.  Most of the inspections for this year have taken place, and the reports in all cases have been very good, testifying to the zeal and energy which have been so conspicuous in all ranks of the organisation.

Since the commencement of the war many generous offers of private houses, institutions, and other buildings for use either as hospitals or convalescent homes have been made, and in many instances steps have been take to equip some of these buildings at short notice.  Among the private houses that have been offered are the following:- … …

Thorpe Hall … …

The following have also been placed at the disposal of the branch:- … …

Severalls Asylum, Colchester, accommodation from 270. … …

Middlesex Hospital, Clacton, 90.

Messrs. Cooper, Tabor, and Co., a large building at Witham, with three floors, to hold 200 beds.

The hall of the Essex and Suffolk Fire Office at Colchester. … …

As already mentioned, the G.E.R. Hotel at Harwich has been requisitioned as a hospital, and the Essex No, 33 Detachment (men), under Mr. Etherden, late of the Essex Yeomanry, and the Essex 84 (women), under Mrs. Brooks, are now employed, 120 beds having been prepared.

At Wivenhoe a 12-bedded rest-station has been prepared, and the local detachment, under Miss Dewhurst, has been mobilised. … …”


Saturday 19 September 1914, Essex Newsman [sic]:-

“A G.E.R. hospital train, containing over 100 wounded soldiers, arrived at Clacton at 6.30 p.m. on Sunday, and were conveyed to the Middlesex Hospital Convalescent Home, where accommodation has been provided for 150 beds.  A large crowd had collected outside the station a couple of hours before the train arrived, and the gallant heroes were greeted with rousing cheers as they left the station.   Most of the war-stained warriors were to get out of the train unaided and walk or limp along to the waiting cars.  A few had to be carried, and there were five stretcher cases.   All were in excellent spirits.  Many had received their wounds at the battle of Mons; others had been wounded in more recent engagements. 

One of the heroes proudly showed a pistol which had belonged to a German officer, and another carried a German helmet. 

Refreshments were served to the men on the platform by local Red Cross nurses, and a detachment of the R.A.M.C. from Colchester assisted in the removal of the more seriously injured cases. 

On the way to Clacton the train stopped at Kelvedon, where the Red Cross detachment had provisions cooked in readiness.   About 4.30 p.m. the train pulled up.    When the train steamed into the station a large crowd was present on the platform.  Refreshments of all kinds were at once handed to the soldiers by the Red Cross nurses, and they all seemed very grateful for what they had received.  Several of the public received mementoes from the soldiers – bullets, and other things picked up on the battlefield, and it was noticed that one solder was wearing a German coat, which it was stated he had got from the German who had wounded him.”  

On 04 November 1914, the first death at the Middlesex Military Hospital occurred.  The first soldier to die was 1st Northamtonshire Regiment Lance Corporal Albert Edward Brawn.  Lance Corporal Brawn was born in 1893, at Earls Barton, Northamptonshire.  He was the son of Northamptonshire-born boot baker James Herbert Brawn and his wife Mary Jane (nee Ward).    

On the same day, at 11.30 p.m., the Middlesex Military Hospital’s second death occurred – when 1st Northamtonshire Regiment Private 3/9388 Sydney Munton (of “B” Coy., 3rd Batl.) died.   Private Munton was born in 1895, in Rothwell, Northamptonshire.  He was the son of Rothwell-born Shoe and Boot Maker & Riveter John Munton and his wife Sarah Ann (nee Cox).

Both soldiers had fought together; been wounded together; travelled back to England together; died within hours of each other; and were buried together.

14 November 1914, Essex County Standard printed this poignant article [sic]:

MILITARY FUNERAL OF WAR HEROES.

An impressive sight was witnessed by a large number of people on Saturday afternoon, when the burial took places, with military honours, of the remains of two of the soldiers who had died during the week at the Middlesex Convalescent Home (Red Cross Hospital), following their injuries received in the war.  The men were Lance-Corporal Albert Brawn, aged 23, of Newport Pagnell, and Private Sidney Munton, aged 20, of Fuller Street, Kettering, both single men and both of the Northamptonshire Regt.  They were among the third batch of wounded which arrived in Clacton by the hospital train from Southampton on October 27, and Brawn passed away on Wednesday and Munton on Thursday of last week, one of them from the wounds inflicted on the head and the other from shock following an operation. The coffins, conveyed in glass hearses, but not covered with Union Jacks, were followed by Mr. and Mrs. Brawn (father and mother), Miss Brawn (sister), and Mr. F. Harris (a former school fellow of deceased), and and by Mr. and Mrs. Munton (father and mother), Miss Munton (sister), and the cortege was preceded by the band of the North Devon Hussars, under Bandmaster Hind, and a firing party of twelve men and bearers, from the same regiment, under the command of Sergt.-Major Cliffe.  The solumn procession wended its way from the mortuary to the Cemetery, the soldiers with arms reversed and the band playing Chopin’s Marche Funèbre.  The funeral service was conducted by the Rev. J. Silvester, vicar of Great Clacton, who gave a short and impressive address, appropriate to the sad circumstances, in the chapel.  The coffins were borne to the graves, which were side by side, each by six of the North Devon Hussars, and the committal prayers were recited in the presence of a very large concourse of sympathetic listeners.  The prayers were followed by the firing of three volleys and the sounding of the Last Post by a trumpeter, and as the family mourners took their leave of their dear ones, the sorrow so affected Mrs. Brawn, an elderly lady, that she fainted, and had to be conveyed to the carriage.  Among those present at the gravesides were many men of the North Devon Hussars, and in the procession from the chapel were Messrs. G. Gardiner, A. W. Tovell, A. W. Matthews, W. Adams, S. Wheeler and C. L. Beaumont, members of the Urban District Council, officially representing the governing body of the town.  There were few flowers.  Among them, other than those of the relatives, being a beautiful spray from Dr. and Mrs. Coleman, with the inscription “Duty bobly done,” another “With sincere sympathy from a soldier’s wife.” And two each inscribed “With sincere sympathy from the staff of the Middlesex Home.””

READ MORE ABOUT THESE TWO YOUNG MEN AT THE END OF THIS CHAPTER.

12 March 1915, Chelmsford Chronicle’ [sic]:-

WAR ITEMS. … … Ninety-two wounded from the Front arrived at Clacton on Sunday by a special ambulance train, and were conveyed to motor cars, etc., to the Middlesex Convalescent Home.  There were thirty-one stretcher cases.”

Aerial view of ‘The Middlesex Hospital Convalescent Home, Clacton. Courtesy of Heather Anne Johnson.

Aerial view of The Middlesex Hospital Convalescent Home, Clacton. Courtesy of Heather Anne Johnson.

19 August 1916, The Newsman [sic]:

DOUBLE AUSTRALIAN FUNERAL.  Two wounded soldiers of the Australian Contingent died at the Middlesex Red Cross Hospital, Clacton, on Monday—Pt. Walter Ernest Herriott and Pt. Albert Jas. Thomson.  They were buried with military honours on Wednesday, the Durham L. I. providing escort, band, and firing party.  There was a large attendance at the cemetery.  The service was conducted by the Rev. J. Silvester, vicar of Great Clacton, and the Rev. Walter J. Elvy, Wesleyan minister at Clacton.  The floral emblems included tokens from the local wounded soldiers’ fund and the Red Cross Society.”

October 1917 War Office List:

In a War Office List of V.A.D. Hospitals (under Eastern Command), dated October 1917, the Middlesex Hospital Convalescent Home is shown as having 120 beds occupied, Miss Morgan was Matron.

11 April 1919, Chelmsford Chronicle [sic]:

HYLANDS HOSPITAL. Splendid Record of Good Work”: There has been little publicity accorded to the splendid work performed by Hylands Auxiliary Military Hospital, Chelmsford, during the war, but its record thoroughly deserves fame.  The Hospital has just been “demolished.”  Here are a few facts and figures concerning its deeds : 

Opened 14th August, 1914. Received Local Sick from the South Midland Division, 20th August, 1914.  Passed through over 500 cases. Received Overseas Patients, October 23rd, 1914.  Passed through 59 Belgians and 901 British; total, 960. Average residence of each patient, 70 days.  Operations performed, 160.  These fell away very much towards the end of the war, as so much operating was done in France. 

At the opening, the staff were assisted by V.A.D.’s provided by Detachments Essex 4 and 46.  After a few months these had to undertake service elsewhere, and probationers were employed to fill their places.  The staff consisted of : 5 trained nurses, 5 probationers, 2 orderlies, and 2 wardmaids. 

On receiving Expeditionary Force case, the Hospital laid itself open to take all the heaviest cases from the Middlesex War Hospital, Clacton-on-Sea, and the General Military Hospital, Colchester, and men with terrible injuries have been successfully treated.  Only one convoy was received direct.”

The Sitting Room at the Middlesex Hospital,, Clacton-on-Sea. Courtesy of Heather Anne Johnson.

The Sitting Room at the Middlesex Hospital, Clacton-on-Sea. Courtesy of Heather Anne Johnson.

 The Dining Room at the Middlesex Hospital, Clacton-on-Sea. Courtesy of Heather Anne Johnson.

The Dining Room at the Middlesex Hospital, Clacton-on-Sea. Courtesy of Heather Anne Johnson.

A Dormitory at the Middlesex Hospital, Clacton-on-Sea. Courtesy of Heather Anne Johnson.

A Dormitory at the Middlesex Hospital, Clacton-on-Sea. Courtesy of Heather Anne Johnson.

Regardless of whether the images above are pre- or post-First World War, the rooms are probably similar to those seen by the wounded soldiers being treated at Middlesex Hospital.



A surviving Hospital Card for the Middlesex Military Hospital. Courtesy and ©/Permission to reproduce given by: The British Red Cross.

A surviving Hospital Card for the Middlesex Military Hospital. Courtesy and ©/Permission to reproduce given by: The British Red Cross.

Only two people’s names are written on the one surviving Hospital Card for Clacton’s Middlesex Hospital: Miss Montgomery (Lady Superintendent) and Caroline Charles “J.C.”.  Caroline Charles was a trained nurse who had volunteered direct to the Joint War Committee, as opposed to being a British Red Cross or the Order of St John member.

Other people have been discovered via other sources e.g. local newspapers and British Red Cross cards (online).  However, there is no doubt that many people who assisted in the running of this establishment will never be discovered within records and, thus, they remain unknown.

Where it is possible, it is hoped to (eventually!) create a more detailed profile for each person, if they can be 100% identified.   Please make contact if you know that a person worked here but they are not within the list, or if you have additional information on someone who is named.



LIST OF PEOPLE KNOWN TO HAVE WORKED AT MIDDLESEX MILITARY WAR HOSPITAL: if a British Red Cross card exists for a person, a link is displayed at an individual’s profile [dates in () refer to Middlesex Military War Hospital length of service]:-

ALLOTT, Miss E. Violet (Quartermaster. Trained nurse. Royal Red Cross 2nd Class award)

BERKELEY, George Harold Arthur Comyns (1914-1919. General Surgeon)

BONNEY, William Francis Victor (1914-1919. General Surgeon)

CHARLES, Miss Caroline (24.1.1917-16.10.1917. Trained Staff Nurse)

DE ROUGEMONT, Mrs. Muriel Evelyn, formerly Heseltine (1.10.1914-6.11.1914. V.A.D. nurse)

GORDON, Miss Charlotte Alice Muriel “Muriel” (11.1915-1.1919 Nursing.  Also worked at Wethersfield Hospital – where mother Edith was Commandant)

HILL, Ms. F. (Trained Staff Nurse. “valuable services rendered” mention)

KEAN, Mrs. Emilie (26.02.1918-12.1918. Nurse)

KNIGHT, Miss Margaret Amy (1.1918-1.1919. Nursing)

LLOYD, Miss L. (Trained Staff Nurse.  “valuable nursing services rendered” mention)

MONTGOMERY, Miss Mary Gertrude (Named on B.R.C. hospital card. Lady Superintendent)

MORGAN, Miss G. E. (Matron. Royal Red Cross awarded mention 02 March 1917)

PICK, Miss Constantia (8.1915-9.1915. VAD Nurse)

ROUND, Sibyl Mary (1914 – 1 week nursing. Vice President of British Red Cross Lexden & Winstree Division & Commandant. V.A.D. Nursing and Administration.  Mentioned in Dispatches. Also worked at St. Martin’s House [Dressing Vaccination Aux. Colchester]; Stanway Rectory Hospital)

TOMLINSON, Ms. L. (Trained Staff Nurse/Sister.  “valuable services rendered” mention)

TRAVERS, Mrs. Mabel Frances (? Nursing)

WALFORD, Miss Maude Mary (Part Time Nurse)

WHEELER, Miss M. (Trained Staff Nurse.  “valuable nursing services rendered” mention)


N.B. Some British Red Cross members worked solely at the Clacton Railway Station – assisting when the Ambulance Trains arrive – and other duties, such as engineering … these are mentioned at the end of The Reckitt Convalescent Home chapter.


PROFILES:

ALLOTT, Miss E. Violet (9.8.1914-? Quartermaster. Trained nurse. Royal Red Cross 2nd Class award)

Is this Evelyn Violet Allott, born 1883 Southend-on-Sea. Daughter of Lincolnshire-born Reverend Henry Hepworth Allott and his Warwickshire-born wife Alicia Georgiana?

1891 Census:      Sifford Rectory, Grays, Essex. Aged “7”, at home with “Rector” father; mother; 3 brothers; 1 sister; 1 visitor; 1 nurse; plus 2 servants.

1901 Census:      ‘Deerhadden’, 19 Bolsover Road, Eastbourne. Pupil at a private school.

1911 Census:       Stifford Rectory, Grays, Essex. At home with “Rector” father; mother; 3 brothers; 1 brother-in-law; plus 3 servants.

1917, 24 Oct:       Issue of Supplement to The Gazette – Royal Red Cross award entry: “SUPPLEMENT TO THE LONDON GAZETTE, 24 OCTOBER, 1917.  … To be Associates, Royal Red Cross (2nd-Class). … Miss Evelyn Violet Allott, Q.M. and Nurse, Coombe Lodge, Aux. Hpl., Essex …”

A death was registered for Evelyn Violet Allott in Dec. 1956, at Aldershot, Hampshire – she never married.

British Red Cross card:

http://www.redcross.org.uk/About-us/Who-we-are/History-and-origin/First-World-War/Card?sname=allott&hosp=clacton&id=3151&first=true&last=true

ADDRESS: Herongate House, nr Brentwood; COUNTY: Essex; SERVICE FROM: 09/08/1914; SERVICE TO: 02/05/1919; PREVIOUS ENGAGEMENT: Joined V.A.D. Essex 12 in January 1910 as Quartermaster, appointed Quartermaster Essex 18 in 1914 April; RANK AT ENGAGEMENT: Quartermaster; DATE OF ENGAGEMENT: 09/08/1914; PAY AT ENGAGEMENT: nil; RANK AT TERMINATION: V.A.D. Essex 18; DATE OF TERMINATION: 02/05/1919; PARTICULARS OF DUTIES: Staff Nurse in Grammar School Hsp. Brentwood & Coombe Lodge Hospital; WHOLE OR PART TIME: Whole time; ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: at Middlesex Hospital, Clacton on Sea, at Coombe Lodge Primary Military Auxiliary Hospital, Essex from Nov. 6th 1914 to March 19th 1919 when patients left, but Mrs Allott remained on to assist return equipment lent, etc, clean the Hospital, & arrange for the sale of surplus equipment on May 2nd 1919. Miss Allott was responsible for the collection of the greater part of the Hospital equipment prior to the outbreak of War; COMMISSION: Essex at Grammar School Temporary Hospital, Brentwood Essex; HONOURS AWARDED: R.R.C. 2nd Class.


BERKELEY, George H. A. Comyns (1865-1946) http://livesonline.rcseng.ac.uk/biogs/E003831b.htm

SIR COMYNS BERKELEY. Reproduced from: RCOG Archive, Reference RCOG/PH1/3/8 with the permission of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists. Photograph credit: Pearl Freeman.

SIR COMYNS BERKELEY. Reproduced from: RCOG Archive, Reference RCOG/PH1/3/8 with the permission of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists. Photograph credit: Pearl Freeman.

and BONNEY, W. F. Victor (1872-1953) http://livesonline.rcseng.ac.uk/biogs/E004910b.htm

W. F. VICTOR BONNEY. Reproduced from: RCOG Archive, Reference RCOG/PH1/4/11 with the permission of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists.

W. F. VICTOR BONNEY. Reproduced from: RCOG Archive, Reference RCOG/PH1/4/11 with the permission of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists.

Both George Comyns Berkeley and Victor Bonney were consulting gynaecological and obstetric surgeons in London when the First World War broke out.  They became the General Surgeons for the Middlesex Military Hospital.  Bonney was Berkeley’s junior at the time.   In 1921, the two friends collaborated and co-wrote the book ‘The Annals of the Middlesex Hospital at Clacton On Sea, during the Great War, 1914-1919’.

An extract from an archived review for the afore-mentioned book (in ‘The Spectator’) reads “How mortal men could double their work for four years and a-half and survive we do not know, but the lively sense of humour which is displayed throughout their book probably served them.    It is well illustrated with photographs and comic drawings, and might to add an appreciable sum to the hospital funds.”


CHARLES, Caroline. (24.1.1917-16.10.1917. Trained Nurse) Born 1Q 1878 Woolwich, London.  Parents: Bricklayer/Plasterer Joseph. W. Charles and his wife Mary (nee Uncharles).

1881 Census:  21 Wade Road, Poplar. Aged “3”, at home with parents and 7 siblings.

1891 Census:  3 Argyle Road, Edmonton. Aged “13”, at home with parents and 4 siblings.

1901 Census:  1 Chapman Road, Fulwood, Lancashire. Visiting widow Alice Crouch and her family.

1911 Census:  Hospital Nurse, The Western Fever Hospital, (Metropolitan Asylums Board),

Seagrave Road, Fulham, London S W.

A death for Caroline Charles was registered Jun 1966, at Thanet, Kent.

A British Red Cross Card for Caroline Charles. Side 1. Courtesy & © of/Permission to reproduce given by: The British Red Cross.

A British Red Cross Card for Caroline Charles. Side 1. Courtesy & © of/Permission to reproduce given by: The British Red Cross.

A British Red Cross Card for Caroline Charles. Side 2. Courtesy & © of/Permission to reproduce given by: The British Red Cross.

A British Red Cross Card for Caroline Charles. Side 2. Courtesy & © of/Permission to reproduce given by: The British Red Cross.


DE ROUGEMONT, Mrs. Muriel Evelyn, formerly Heseltine   Member of the Executive Committee Essex Branch B.R.C.S. (1.10.1914-6.11.1914. V.A.D. nurse)

Born 1883 Godalming, Surrey.  Baptised 30 September 1883. Daughter of Lambeth-born Stoke Broker Evelyn Heseltine and his Godalming-born wife Emily Henrietta.  Muriel married Cecil H. De Rougemont in 2Q 1914 in the Registration District of Romford, Essex.

1891 Census:      The Goldings, Gt. Warley, Essex. At home, with parents; 1 brother; 1 Uncle; 1 Aunt; and 14 servants, including a Governess and a Nurse.

1901 Census:      Not in Gt. Warley with family…

1911 Census:      The Goldings, Gt. Warley, Essex. At home, with parents; 2 visitors; and 10 servants.

Muriel’s death was registered March 1967, in the Brentwood District.

http://www.redcross.org.uk/About-us/Who-we-are/History-and-origin/First-World-War/Card?hosp=middlesex+clacton&id=60349

ADDRESS: Great Warley; COUNTY: Essex; SERVICE FROM: 09/08/1914; SERVICE TO: 02/05/1919; HOSPITAL: Coombe Lodge, Great Warley; PREVIOUS ENGAGEMENT: Was appointed Commandant of V.A.D. Essex 18 in January 1910; RANK AT ENGAGEMENT: Commandant; DATE OF ENGAGEMENT: 09/08/1914; RANK AT TERMINATION: Commandant; DATE OF TERMINATION: 02/05/1919; PARTICULARS OF DUTIES: Comdt. VAD Essex 18 & of Coombe Lodge Primary Military Auxiliary Hospital; WHOLE OR PART TIME: Whole Time; ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: Mrs. de Rougemont is a member of the Executive Committee Essex Branch B.R.C.S. Was Commandant of the Brentwood Grammar School temporary Hospital for a month from August 9th. 1914, worked during October 1914 until Nov. 6 as V.A.D. nurse at the Middlesex Hospital, Clacton on Sea, & from that date until its closing was Comdt. of Coombe Lodge Hospital living in the Hospital. The last patients left on March 19th. but Mrs. de Rougemont stayed on until April 1st. to return Equipment lent, clean the Hospital & arrange for the Sale on May 2nd. 1919; COMMISSION: Essex Combe Lodge Hospital Great Warley; HONOURS AWARDED: Officer of the Order of the British Empire, also “Mentioned”.


GORDON, Miss Charlotte Alice Muriel “Muriel” (11.1915-1.1919 Nursing.  Also worked at Wethersfield Hospital – where mother Edith was Commandant)

Born 1874 London (Registered 2nd Quarter St George Hanover Square). Daughter of British Subject, East Indies-born Army Officer/Colonel William Gordon and his Yorkshire-born Edith (nee Rouse).

1881 Census:      Fernie Hurst, Baildon, Yorkshire. At an aunt and uncle’s home; with mother; two sisters; one brother; and eight servants of the house.

1891 Census:

1901 Census:      The Place, Wethersfield, Nr Braintree, Essex. With parents; two sisters; a cousin; a cook; and two more servants.

1911 Census:      The Wethersfield Place, Nr Braintree, Essex. With parents; two sisters; and 4 servants.

1965, 15 Jun:      Charlotte Alice Muriel Gordon “of Milverton Hotel, Cheltenham” died at The General Hospital, Cheltenham.

http://www.redcross.org.uk/About-us/Who-we-are/History-and-origin/First-World-War/Card?hosp=middlesex+clacton&id=87095

ADDRESS: Wethersfield Place, Nr Braintree; COUNTY: Essex; HOSPITAL: Wethersfield House, Braintree; RANK AT ENGAGEMENT: received; DATE OF ENGAGEMENT: 01/1918; PAY AT ENGAGEMENT: £20 per annum for 1 year; DATE OF TERMINATION: 01/1919; PARTICULARS OF DUTIES: Nursing Entirely; WHOLE OR PART TIME: whole; ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: Nov 5th.1914 to July 5th.1915 Nursing at Wethersfield V.A.D. Hospital, Essex 52. Nov.1915 to Jan. 1919 Nursing at the Middlesex War Hospital, Clacton-on-Sea, Essex, almost continuously & a short time at the Chelmsford Military Hospital. Came home owing to illness occasioned by a fall in Hospital; COMMISSION: Essex.


HILL, Ms. F. (Trained Staff Nurse. “valuable services rendered” mention).

10 March 1917, ‘Essex Newsman’: MORE NURSES HONOURED.  The following additional ladies have been brought to the notice of the Secretary of State for War for valuable services rendered in connection with the war:– … Hill, F., Nurse, Middlesex Hospital Convalescent Home, Clacton.”


KEAN, Mrs. Emilie (26.02.1918-12.1918. Nurse)

http://www.redcross.org.uk/About-us/Who-we-are/History-and-origin/First-World-War/Card?hosp=middlesex+clacton&id=123601

ADDRESS: Tanglewood Cottage, Boreham Wood, Elstree; AGE WHEN ENGAGED: 37; SERVICE FROM:24/11/1916; SERVICE TO: 12/1918; PREVIOUS ENGAGEMENT: P.T.O.; RANK AT ENGAGEMENT: Nurse; DATE OF ENGAGEMENT: 24/11/1916; PAY AT ENGAGEMENT: With; DATE OF TERMINATION: 12/1918; ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: 24.11.1916 to 24.06.1917 at 3rd London General Hospital, Wandsworth. 26.02.1918 to December 1918 at Middlesex War Hospital, Clacton on Sea; DEPARTMENT: J.W.V.A.D.; COMMISSION: Herts. 42.


KNIGHT, Miss Margaret Amy (1.1918-1.1919. Nursing)

British Red Cross card:

http://www.redcross.org.uk/About-us/Who-we-are/History-and-origin/First-World-War/Card?sname=knight&hosp=frinton&id=127775&first=true&last=true

ADDRESS: The Rectory, Frinton; COUNTY: Essex; SERVICE FROM: 03/1915; SERVICE TO: 07/1917; RANK AT ENGAGEMENT: Nurse; PAY AT TERMINATION: £20 a yr; PARTICULARS OF DUTIES: Nursing; WHOLE OR PART TIME: Whole time; ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: Date of Engagement / Date of Termination: March 1915 – June 1915 (Recess) Frinton Feb. 1916 – July 1917 (Turret Lodge) Frinton July 1917 – Nov. 1917 Singholm Jan 1918 -Jan 1919 Middlesex (Clacton); COMMISSION: Essex Essex /126.


LLOYD, Miss L. (Trained Staff Nurse.  “valuable nursing services rendered” mention).

16 August 1918, ‘Chelmsford Chronicle’: NURSES’ SERVICES RECOGNISED and the Middlesex Hospital featured:   “The names of the following ladies have been brought to the notice of the Secretary of State for War for valuable nursing services rendered in connection with the war: …  Lloyd, Staff Nurse Miss L., Middlesex War Hospital, Clacton-on-Sea; …”


MONTGOMERY, Miss Mary Gertrude (Named on B.R.C.  hospital card. Lady Superintendent)

Born 2ndQ 1875 Manchester, Lancashire.  Daughter of Irish-born Bank Cashier Robert Montgomery and his London-born wife Sarah.

1881 Census:     4 Lincoln Grove Terrace, Chorlton on Medlock, Lancashire. Aged “5”. Living at home with parents and 4 siblings.

1891 Census:     Yeardsley Hall, Yeardsley cum Whaley, Cheshire. Visiting the Clarke famiy.

1901 Census:     St. Thomas’ Hospital, Lambeth, London. Hospital Nurse.

1908:                 Became Matron at Addenbrooke’s Hospital, Cambridge.

1911 Census:      Addenbrooke’s Hospital, Cambridge. Matron.

1913, 08 Aug:    It was reported (Cambridge Independent Press, Friday 08.08.1913):

ADDENBROOKE’S HOSPITAL. MATRON RESIGNS. AN IMPORTANT APPOINTMENT. …

At the Quarterly Court of the Governors of Addenbrooke’s Hospital on Wednesday it was announced that the Matron (Miss Montgomery) had been appointed Lady Superintendent of Middlesex Hospital. … …

Resignation of Miss Montgomery. Finally, the committee announced, which they did with the greatest regret, that Addenbrooke’s Hospital was losing the services of Miss Montgomery as Matron.  Miss Montgomery had been appointed to the important post of Lady Superintendent of the Middlesex Hospital.  The appointment was made in a manner which showed in a remarkable way the high esteem in which Miss Montgomery was held.  Miss Montgomery had filled the post of Matron for the past five years with great distinction and success.  She was appointed Matron in very difficult circumstances, and she left the Hospital in the highest state of efficiency and good organisation.  The committee had put on record their high appreciation of the very valuable services which Miss Montgomery had rendered to the Hospital, and in leaving she carried with her the gratitude and esteem of everyone connected to Addenbrooke’s and their good wishes for her happiness and success in the responsible and important position to which she has been called.”  


MORGAN, Miss G. E. (Matron. Royal Red Cross awarded mention 02 March 1917)

On Friday 02 March 1917, the ‘Chelmsford Chronicle’ notified readers about the nurses that had been honoured and the Middlesex Hospital’s Matron, Miss G. E. Morgan, was one of them:

NURSES HONOURED.  The King has been pleased to award the Royal Red Cross decoration to the under-mentioned ladies in recognition of their valuable services in connection with the war: — … … ROYAL RED CROSS, 1st CLASS. …  …  Miss G. E. Morgan, Matron, Middlesex Hospital, Clacton.”


PICK, Miss Constantia (8.1915-9.1915 – 3 weeks.  VAD Nurse)

Born  1872 Baston, near Thetford, Lincolnshire. Baptised 8 September 1872 Baston, Lincolnshire. Lincolnshire-born Farmer Robert Pick and his Rutland-born Ann Ellen.

1881 Census:      Lodge Farm, Bourn, Cambs. At home, with mother; Farmer father; 1 brother; 4 sisters; and 2 servants.

1891 Census:      Harston, Cambridgeshire. At home, with mother; Farmer father; 2 brothers; 3 sisters; 1 visitor; and 1 servant.

1901 Census:      Manor Farm, Pampisford, Cambs. At home, with mother; Farmer father; 2 brothers; 1 sister; 1 nephew; and 1 servant.

1911 Census:      Parks Farm, Wethersfield. At home, with parents; 1 brother; 1 niece; and 1 servant.

Constantia died 23 October 1960 and the death was registered in the Ipswich District.  She never married.

http://www.redcross.org.uk/About-us/Who-we-are/History-and-origin/First-World-War/Card?hosp=middlesex+clacton&id=238724

ADDRESS: Bakers Farm, Wethersfield; COUNTY: Essex; SERVICE FROM: 05/11/1914; SERVICE TO: 01/1918; HOSPITAL: Wethersfield House, Braintree; Auxiliary Hospital, Earls Colne; RANK AT ENGAGEMENT: VAD Nurse; DATE OF ENGAGEMENT: 05/11/1914; PAY AT ENGAGEMENT: none; RANK AT TERMINATION: Essex-52; DATE OF TERMINATION: 01/1918; PAY AT TERMINATION: none; PARTICULARS OF DUTIES: Entirely Nursing; WHOLE OR PART TIME: whole time; ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: Wethersfield V.A.D. Hospital dating from November 5th 1914 to July 5th 1915 Middlesex War Hospital, Clacton, Essex Augt & Sept 1915 = 3 weeks Earls Colne V.A.D. Hospital Nov 1915 to Jan 1918 = 9 months with occasional intervals for Home Duties; COMMISSION: Essex 52; HONOURS AWARDED: 5 years Service Badge & Certificate for Service with V.A.D. Detachment.


ROUND, Sibyl Mary (1914 – 1 week nursing. Vice President of British Red Cross Lexden & Winstree Division & Commandant. V.A.D. Nursing and Administration.  Mentioned in Dispatches. Also worked at St. Martin’s House [Dressing Vaccination Aux. Colchester]; Stanway Rectory Hospital)

Born 1872, birth registered St. George Hanover Square, London.  Daughter of Colchester-born M.P. & J.P. James Round and his wife Ovington-born Sibylla Joanna

1881 Census:      The Holly Trees, East Hill, Colchester, Essex.  At home, with parents; 5 sisters; I aunt; 1 cousin; 1 Governess; and 8 servants.

1891 Census:      31 De Vere Gardens, Kensington, London. With parents; 6 sisters; 1 brother; 1 cousin; and 8 servants.

1901 Census:      31 De Vere Gardens, Kensington, London. With parents; 4 sisters; and 8 servants.

1911 Census:      31 De Vere Gardens, Kensington, London. With parents; 1 sister; 1 uncle; 1 aunt; and 8 servants.

Sibyl’s died on 27 July 1949 and her death was registered in Colchester, Essex.  She is buried at St. Peter’s church in Birch, Essex.   She never married.

http://www.redcross.org.uk/About-us/Who-we-are/History-and-origin/First-World-War/Card?hosp=middlesex+clacton&id=180115

ADDRESS: The Cross House, Layer de la Haye, Colchester; COUNTY: Essex; CHARACTER: Mentioned in despatches Jan 1918; SERVICE FROM: 1910; SERVICE TO: still serving; HOSPITAL: Stanway Rectory, Stanway; RANK AT ENGAGEMENT: Vice President & Commandant; DATE OF ENGAGEMENT: 02/1910; RANK AT TERMINATION: Vice President & Commandant; DATE OF TERMINATION: Still Serving; PAY AT TERMINATION: none; PARTICULARS OF DUTIES: V.A.D. Nursing & administration work; WHOLE OR PART TIME: 5200 hours 2 stripes; ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: Vice President – Lexden & Winstree Division since 1911 & Commandant of Essex 44 1914 1 week nursing Middlesex Hosp. Clacton 1914 5 months nursing Stanway Hosp. Colchester 1914 Dressing Vaccination Aux. Colchester 1915 – 1916 Padding splint, work rooms. 1916 2 months County Hospital Colchester 1917 – 1919. 2 years Commandant of Gostwycke Auxiliary Hospital Colchester; COMMISSION: Essex 44 Lexden & Winstree Division, Miss Round.


TOMLINSON, Ms. L. (Trained Staff Nurse/Sister.  “valuable services rendered” mention)

10 March 1917, ‘Essex Newsman’: MORE NURSES HONOURED.  The following additional ladies have been brought to the notice of the Secretary of State for War for valuable services rendered in connection with the war:– …  … Tomlinson, L. Sister, Middlesex Hospital, Clacton.  …  …”


TRAVERS, Mrs. Mabel Frances (? Nursing)

http://www.redcross.org.uk/About-us/Who-we-are/History-and-origin/First-World-War/Card?hosp=middlesex+clacton&id=210748

ADDRESS: Brooklyn House, Warley; COUNTY: Essex; SERVICE FROM: 08/1914; SERVICE TO: 05/10/1916; HOSPITAL: VAD Auxiliary Hospital, Downham Market; Coombe Lodge, Great Warley; Wern Auxiliary Military Hospital, Portmadoc; Hospital for Facial Injuries, 78, Brook Street, and 24, Norfolk Street, W1; Paddington VAD, 37, Porchester Terrace, W2; PREVIOUS ENGAGEMENT: Honary Comdt. Glamorgan V.A.D. joined Essex 18 in June 1914; RANK AT ENGAGEMENT: Member; DATE OF ENGAGEMENT: August 1914 to Sept 1914; Nov 1914 to Oct 5th 1916; PAY AT ENGAGEMENT: Nil; RANK AT TERMINATION: V. A. D. Essex 18; DATE OF TERMINATION: 05/10/1916; PARTICULARS OF DUTIES: Nursing; WHOLE OR PART TIME: Whole time; ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: Brentwood temporary Red X Hospital, Middlesex Hospital, Clacton on Sea, Coombe Lodge Primary Auxiliary Military Hospital, Subsequently Wern Hospital, Portmadoc, N. Wales, 24 Norfolk Street, Downham Market Hospital Paddington V.A.D. Hospital, 37 Porchester Terrace, W. until January 1919; COMMISSION: Essex.


WALFORD, Miss Maude Mary (Part Time Nurse)

http://www.redcross.org.uk/About-us/Who-we-are/History-and-origin/First-World-War/Card?hosp=middlesex+clacton&id=215301&last=true

ADDRESS: 235 Maldon Road, Colchester; SERVICE FROM: 03/1911; SERVICE TO: 03/1919; HOSPITAL: Stanway Rectory, Stanway; RANK AT ENGAGEMENT: Nurse; DATE OF ENGAGEMENT: 03/1911; PAY AT ENGAGEMENT: None; RANK AT TERMINATION: Nurse; DATE OF TERMINATION: Still serving; PAY AT TERMINATION: None; PARTICULARS OF DUTIES: Nursing; WHOLE OR PART TIME: 3300 hours; ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: Lexden & Winstree Division, Miss Round. Part time given at Middlesex Hospital Clacton on Sea 1914 Stanway V.A.D. Hospital 1914 – 1915 Essex County Hospital 1915 – 1919 Gostwycke V.A.D. Hospital Colchester 1918 – 1919; COMMISSION: B.R.C.S. Essex 44.


WHEELER, Miss M. (Trained Staff Nurse.  “valuable nursing services rendered” mention).

On Friday 16 August 1918, the ‘Chelmsford Chronicle’ printed a long list of names under the heading of NURSES’ SERVICES RECOGNISED and the Middlesex Hospital featured:   “The names of the following ladies have been brought to the notice of the Secretary of State for War for valuable nursing services rendered in connection with the war: … Wheeler, Staff Nurse Miss M., Middlesex Hospital, Clacton” ….”



LANCE CORPORAL ALBERT EDWARD BRAWN : CLACTON-ON-SEA WW1 PATIENT

The first fatality at the Middlesex Military Hospital

Born 1893 Earls Barton, Northamptonshire.  Son of Northamptonshire-born Boot Maker James Herbert Brawn and his wife Mary Jane (nee Ward).

1901 Census:       78 Great Park Street, Wellingborough, Northants. With parents & siblings.

1909, 07.12:        Became a ‘Special Reservist’ in the Northamptonshire Regiment – Private 8818.

1910, 10.03:         Attested into the Northamptonshire Regiment and became Private 9125.

1910, 16.03:         Transferred to 2nd Battalion of the Northants. Regiment – Colchester.

1910, 03.10:         Injury to knee at Colchester.

1911, 14.03:          Transferred to 1st Battalion of the Northamptonshire Regiment.

1911, 02.04:         Census: South Raglan Barracks, Devonport, Devon.  Private in 1st Northants. Regiment.

“During his military service, Lance Corporal Brawn kept a diary, which contained the following entries:-

1914, 06.09:             Albert was with his regiment at Bernay.

07.09:         … at Vaudy.

10.09:         … Battle of Priez (after a convoy).

11.09:         … at Croincy.

12.09:         … at Paars.

13.09:         … seven days in the trenches.  Very bad weather, raining all the time.

20.09:         … to 25th, rest.

25.09:         … to 27th, went back into the trenches as reserve. On the night of 27th, went into firing line again until relieved by the Sussex Regiment on the night of the 29th.

29.09:         … to October 1, went back to the reserve trenches.

01.10:         … to night of October 3, went back to trenches in the firing line.

03.10:         … to 5, went back to reserve trenches.

05.10:         … to 7, went back to firing line.

07.10:         … to 14, went back to reserve trenches until relieved by the French on the 14th.

15.10:         … entrained at Fismes for the North of France.

16.10:         … riding all day.

17.10:         … got out at Cassel.

18.10:         … day’s rest.

19.10:         … left Cassel and marched to Elverdine and stopped there the night of the 20th.

21.10:         … left Elverdine and got to Pilcombe the following night and here we stopped, and next day.

Here the diary closes.  At this point, he (and Sydney Munton) took part in the engagement that caused their fatal wounds.

1914, 22.10:        Signaller Albert and his regiment moved north of Pilkem, to assist the Cameron Highlanders – one company attacking an inn on the Bixschoote – Langemarke road.

1914, 23.10:        Albert fatally wounded – Gun Shot Wound to left thigh.   Northants. Regiment War Diary entry:-  “Attacks more or less all day.  A very vigorous attack in the evening but it was repulsed.”   (War Diary entry is very short – most officers capable of writing it having been killed during that time!).

1914, 26.10:        Transferred ‘Home’ to England and the Middlesex Hospital, Clacton-on-Sea.

1914, 30.10:        Parents informed by the War Office that he was in the Middlesex Hospital.

1914, 04.11:         Albert died (Service Record entry) – 1st death at the Middlesex Military Hospital.

1914, 07.11:         Albert was buried with military honours, at the same time as Sydney Munton.

His final resting place is the Clacton-on-Sea Cemetery in the town’s Burrs Road.

Bucks Standard, 1914 Nov. 14th:

On October 30th, Mr. and Mrs. James Brawn, of Osborne’s Farm, High Street, Newport Pagnell, had been informed by the War Office that their son, Lance Corporal Albert Brawn, of the 1st Battalion, Northants. Regiment, had been dangerously wounded, and was in the Middlesex Hospital, Clacton.   He had been born at Earls Barton, Northants., and had been in every engagement since the beginning of the war.    In fact the previous day his parents had received a postcard from him, written on the battlefield, saying that he was going on well.   Tragically, aged 21 he died on Wednesday, November 4th at Clacton Hospital, and with full military honours was buried in the little seaside cemetery on Saturday, November 7th.  This was the first fatality at the hospital, but was quickly followed by that of a Kettering soldier, of the same regiment.     Both soldiers had fought together, and were laid to rest in the same grave.    As well as Mr. and Mrs. Brawn and their daughter, almost all the population of Clacton attended the solemn service, at which the buglers sounded ‘The Last Post,’ and a firing party fired three volleys over the grave.”   

Research of diary/newspaper extracts credited to: http://www.mkheritage.co.uk/nphs/docs/war/warletters.html and John Taylor of Bletchley (North Bucks Times; Bucks Standard; & Wolverton Express).

Albert Brawn’s headstone in Clacton. Courtesy/© of Joanne Lowe

Albert Brawn’s headstone in Clacton. Courtesy/© of Joanne Lowe

The inscription at the bottom of Albert’s headstone (as requested by the family) reads:-

“IN LOVING MEMORY OF

OUR DEAR BOY

MOTHER, FATHER

SISTERS AND BROTHERS”

“Son of Mr. and Mrs. J. Brawn of Osborne Lodge, High St., Newport Pagnell, Bucks.”

Death registration quotes age as 23 but Albert was only 21 years of age when he died.

WW1 Medal Card for Albert Edward Brawn. National Archives and Ancestry.co.uk credited.

WW1 Medal Card for Albert Edward Brawn. National Archives and Ancestry.co.uk credited.

Albert Brawn’s First World War Army Service Record (16 pages) has survived – it is held at the UK National Archives.  Images are available online and have been downloaded by the author of this site.



PRIVATE 3/9388 SYDNEY MUNTON : CLACTON-ON-SEA WW1 PATIENT

1st NORTHAMPTONSHIRE REGIMENT

The second fatality at the Middlesex Military Hospital

Sydney Munton: Newspaper photograph (Kettering Leader credited) and headstone in Clacton (Courtesy/© of Joanne Lowe)

Sydney Munton: Newspaper photograph (Kettering Leader credited) and headstone in Clacton (Courtesy/© of Joanne Lowe)

Born 1895 Rothwell, Northamptonshire (Birth registered 3rd Q District of Kettering).  Son of Rothwell-born Shoe/Boot Maker & Riveter John Munton & his wife Sarah Ann.

1901 Census:      School Lane, Rothwell, Northants. With parents and siblings.

1911 Census:      32 Jubilee St., Rothwell.  With parents and siblings. Occupation: Bootmaker Clicker.

1914, May?:        Enlisted in the Northamptonshire Regiment. (42 Water St., Kettering, Northants.) 

Sydney’s experiences leading up to his fatal wound must mirror those documented in the diary of 1st Northants. Regiment Lance Corporal Albert Brawn.   Referring to Albert Brawn and Sydney, the Essex County Standard (14 Nov. 1914) stated that one of them had died “from the wounds inflicted on the head and the other from shock following an operation” … it is deduced that Sydney was the one with the head wound because Albert’s Service Record states he received a gun-shot wound to left thigh.

1914, 22.10:        Sydney and his regiment moved north of Pilkem, to assist the Cameron Highlanders – one company attacking an inn on the Bixschoote – Langemarke road.

1914, 23.10:        This is the day Sydney was probably fatally wounded – the same day as fellow Northants. Regiment comrade-in-arms Lance Corporal Albert Brawn.  The Northants. Regiment War Diary entry states:-   “Attacks more or less all day.  A very vigorous attack in the evening but it was repulsed.”   (The War Diary entry is very short – most of the officers capable of writing it having been killed during that time!).

1914, 26.10:        Probably transferred ‘Home’ to England and the Middlesex Hospital, Clacton-on-Sea (date as documented for Albert Brawn, in his Service Record – they were wounded together and were patients together in the hospital).   Sydney’s Army Service Record has not survived.

1914, 04.11:        Sydney’s parents received telegram notifying them that he was dangerously ill.  Mother and sister set off the next morning (05 Nov.) to travel by train to Clacton-on-Sea.

1914, 04.11:        Sydney died 04 November 1914, 11.30 p.m.

1914, 07.11:        Sydney was buried with military honours, at the same time as Albert Edward Brawn – Saturday 07 Nov. 1914.   His final resting place is the Clacton’s Cemetery in the town’s Burrs Road.

WW1 Medal Card for Sydney Munton. National Archives and Ancestry.co.uk credited.

WW1 Medal Card for Sydney Munton.  National Archives and Ancestry.co.uk credited.

Telegraphs from Albert Brawn’s Army Service Record. National Archives & Ancestry.co.uk credited.

Telegraphs from Albert Brawn’s Army Service Record. National Archives & Ancestry.co.uk credited.

The telegraphs above are held within Albert Brawn’s Army Service Record.  They confirm the deaths of both Albert and Sydney.

Kettering Leader, Friday 13 November 1914:

A SOLDIER’S GRAVE

Kettering Private Buried At Clacton-on-Sea

“We regret to announce that another Kettering soldier – Private Sydney Munton, of “B” Company, 3rd Battalion Northants. Regiment – has lost his life as the outcome of taking part in the present war.   He was wounded in Belguim and rather more than a fortnight ago he was removed to the military hospital, St. Michael’s Home**, Clacton-on-Sea.       From this institution, his parents – Mr. and Mrs. Munton of 6 Fuller Street, Kettering – received a telegram on Wednesday stating that Sydney was dangerously ill.   Mrs. Munton and one of the deceased sisters hurried off by first train next morning but soon after they set off upon their sorrowful journey there arrived a second telegram to say that the young “Steelback”  – his age was only 19 – passed away at half-past eleven the previous night.  Mr. Munton proceeded to Clacton on Friday, arrangements having been made for the funeral to take place there on Saturday.  Much sympathy is expressed with the parents and family in their sad loss. 

Private Sydney Munton was formerly in the employ of the Kettering Boot Company.   A brother is in the Territorials.” 

“Very impressive scenes were witnessed on Saturday at Clacton-on-Sea, in connection with the funeral of Private Sydney Munton, son of Mr. and Mrs. Munton of 6 Fuller Street, Kettering.  Among the soldier’s comrades moved along with him into the firing line was one who, by a pathetic coincidence, occupied the very next position in the trenches, was wounded at the same time as Private Munton, was eventually conveyed to the same hospital – St. Michael’s Home**, Clacton-on-Sea – and, passing away within a few hours of the Kettering soldier’s death, was buried at the same time. 

A remarkably large crowd of people witnessed the funeral of the two soldiers, and military honours were accorded.    Mr. and Mrs. Munton (parents) and Miss Munton (sister) were the principal mourners following the mortal remains of their son and brother to the grave.”   

** This appears be an error, as place of death is given as the Middlesex Hospital in all other documents.

The inscription at the bottom of Sydney Munton’s headstone reads “Jesu Mercy”, as requested by the family.   N.B. For a fee of 3.5 pennies a letter, a family could add an extra inscription at the bottom of the CWGC headstone. 

A niece of Sydney, Susan Bigham, spoke about how touched she was upon reading the Kettering Leader’s story on Sydney and about the mercy dash of her grandmother and aunt.    Susan does not possess a photograph of Sydney and, on seeing the image of Sydney in the article, she commented on the family resemblance that the following generations had inherited from Sydney.  Susan recalled what her mother Winifred/“Winnie” would say about her brother Sydney and her family when she reminisced …  …

Winnie was only just nine years old when brother Sydney died.   Sydney was her “big brother”, whom she loved dearly –he was ten years older than Winnie.    Winnie would say that he played the bugle in the Army.*

Winnie also said that their father John had once worked as a gardener.    Certainly, John kept a large garden to feed his family and his wife Sarah always stressed that he provided fresh vegetables every day – enough for all of the family.  However, in all the census entries, John’s occupation is always recorded as a shoe/boot maker.   John made all the boots for his children – Winnie would say that the boots didn’t always fit too well and her feet were a testament to that!    Winnie always stressed that, at a time when many children ran around bare footed and with empty bellies, it was no mean feat to provide your children with footwear and food on the table.

Niece Susan said “I think the people of Clacton were amazing and the Drs and nurses went far beyond anything that would be normally expected of anyone.  We knew of Sydney but not about him.  We are proud that he was a part of our family and his memory will be passed through the generations.”

*A duty bugler took post every day (and continued to do so right into the 1980s) and his first call was ‘Rouse’, after which he positioned himself between the Adjutant’s and RSM’s offices, making calls for ‘Officers’, ‘Orderly Sergeants/Corporals’ and ‘Cookhouse/Dinner’ calls as directed.  All calls were preceded by the regimental call so that in a garrison of several units you could listen for your own bugler and thus what was required. In the evening he played ‘Defaulters’ and ‘Tattoo’ (First and Last Post) and finally, ‘Lights Out’.  (http://1914-1918.invisionzone.com/forums/index.php credited)

SYDNEY MUNTON’S FAMILY

Sydney Munton’s father John (left). Sydney’s sister Winifred & mother Sarah. Images courtesy/© of Susan Bigham.

Sydney Munton’s father John (left). Sydney’s sister Winifred & mother Sarah. Images courtesy/© of Susan Bigham.

Sydney Munton’s mother Sarah. Image courtesy/© of Susan Bigham.

Sydney Munton’s mother Sarah. Image courtesy/© of Susan Bigham.

The photograph above, of Sydney Munton’s mother Sarah, has a message to Sydney written of the reverse – shown below. It was amongst Sydney’s belongings, which were returned to his family after his death at Middlesex Hospital.

Message on back of photo of Sydney Munton’s mother. Image courtesy/© of Susan Bigham.

Message on back of photo of Sydney Munton’s mother. Image courtesy/© of Susan Bigham.

The ‘Imperial War Graves Commission’ was established by the British government in 1917 – it had developed from the ‘British Army’s Graves Registration Commission’, which had been established in 1915.     In turn, the IWGC was re-named the ‘Commonwealth War Graves Commission’ in 1960.

Numerous requests were received from families – for information, photographs & details of the overseas’ location of the graves.   A photograph of the original cross (pre-CWGC headstone) standing at the grave could be sent, for a price, on a card that would also give the location of the grave within the cemetery plus the nearest railway station. Once Cemetery Registers had been proofed/printed (after cemeteries had been deemed completed?), these could be purchased.   An Order Form was sent to the stated ‘Next of Kin’ – it would possess the proof-slip relating to the family member, as the entry appeared in the Register.   Below is the image of the Order Form for the Register of the Clacton Cemetery, sent to Sydney’s mother.  As many families may have found it difficult to afford to buy such a Register (for just the few lines pertaining to their loved one), perhaps it was enough to treasure the Order Form with the attached personal proof-slip – as the Munton family have with theirs?

N.B.  The Canadian Government sent out a free copy of the relevant Cemetery Register to each Next Of Kin but the British and Australians had to purchase copies if they wished to possess one!

Both sides of the Order Form for the Register of the Clacton Cemetery, sent to Sydney Munton’s mother. Images courtesy/© of Susan Bigham.

Both sides of the Order Form for the Register of the Clacton Cemetery, sent to Sydney Munton’s mother. Images courtesy/© of Susan Bigham.

Sydney’s name upon Kettering War Memorial. Courtesy/© of Patrick Craig, a great-nephew of Sydney.

Sydney’s name upon Kettering War Memorial. Courtesy/© of Patrick Craig, a great-nephew of Sydney.


KETTERING  WAR  MEMORIAL,  NORTHAMPTONSHIRE

LANCE CORPORAL ALBERT EDWARD BRAWN & PRIVATE SYDNEY MUNTON

1/NORTHAMPTONSHIRE REGIMENT

1st and 2nd fatalities at Middlesex Military Hospital, Clacton-on-Sea, Essex

Kettering War Memorial. Images courtesy/© of Patrick Craig. Acknowledgement to Darren Ward.

Kettering War Memorial. Images courtesy/© of Patrick Craig. Acknowledgement to Darren Ward.

Kettering WW1 Roll of Honour. Image courtesy/© of Patrick Craig. Acknowledgement to Darren Ward.

Kettering WW1 Roll of Honour. Image courtesy/© of Patrick Craig. Acknowledgement to Darren Ward.


NEXT:  CLACTON: Essex Convalescent Home, Coppins Road

Advertisements