The 'Albert Braithwaite' Genealogy Page
Part of the Jackson Family History
Alternative web address: www.hilarymaryjackson.co.uk/Albert_Braithwaite.htm
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My Father Albert Braithwaite
I knew my Father had fought in World War I, but he always seemed reluctant to talk about his experiences, that is until programmes started to appear on television and he became more aware of the dreadful slaughter and futility of it all. He received his medals at the end of his service and we were reminded of that every time we opened the kitchen drawer - they were there in one of the compartments of the cutlery drawer. However before my Mother and Father moved out of their Kilnhurst Road home, they had somehow disappeared.
I start this section with information he verbally related and then produce my Dad's memories which he had written down. These two accounts do differ slightly -
In 1914 Dad worked at Manvers Main Colliery on the pit top. He only earned 8 shillings and 3 pence, sometimes 12 shillings and 3 pence. His father died in 1914 and he told his mother he would have to work down the pit to earn more money. He became a Trammer. According to Webster's dictionary that was - Tramming. (n.) The act or process of forming trams.
He had to push the coal trucks when the spaces were too small for the ponies. According to another source:
A trammer - A person who loads broken rock on tramcars and delivers it at the shaft. Trammers work as assistant miners in all the work a miner does. They load the broken coal on to shaker or belt conveyors, fill and haul the mine cars, bring in the mine timber and other materials to support and equip the mine workings, serve the mining and transport machines, and work also as auxiliary mine timbermen. The picture on the left was found on a website; I did email to get permission to use the picture but my email was returned as undeliverable. If anyone objects to the use of the picture, please use the email at the bottom of the page to get in touch.
After the start of the war, Dad was continually harassed by Earl Fitzwilliam’s Agent*, a retired army person (I think a Colonel). He was always saying a fine, upstanding chap like you should be in the army fighting for his country. Dad was in a protected job – miners did not have to join up. He had bad eye sight anyway, and working in the pit made his eyes worse.
* Most of the local pits were owned by Earl Fitzwilliam from nearby Wentworth Woodhouse.
Eventually this man wore him down. He enlisted in late November 1915, aged 19, into the 2nd Battalion of the Yorkshire and Lancashire Regiment, . His number was 23995, Private, he trained at Cocken Hall and then at Lullwell School, Sunderland. The regiment had previously been stationed in India before going to France. Dad went directly to France as a replacement from Dieppe.
He didn’t have to go to the front, if he’d showed his paybook but he didn’t want to be a “base wallah”.
They went “over the top” in an attempt to capture Bapaume – he thought the date was around November 11th.
The bombardment against them was fierce and bullets hit his steel helmet and his bayonet whilst laying in a shell hole. He made a run for it and was hit in the wrist.
Picture 1 - Wentworth Woodhouse the home of Earl Fitzwilliam, owner of the pit where my father worked.
Picture 2 - Private 23995 Albert Braithwaite
Picture 3 - My father is on the left, unfortunately I don't know the names of his two friends or exactly when this picture was taken.
I asked my father to write down his experiences of his time in the Yorkshire and Lancashire force - I gave him a notebook and although he did start writing in this book, he preferred to write on scraps of paper and I found some of these inserted inside the book. I repeat below what my father had written -
Enlisted December 1915. The Doctor passed me A1 but, never tested my eyesight. I was told they would let me have Xmas at home. Joined the York and Lancs, went to the Depot at Pontefract, was then posted to Cocken Hall in Durham, and later to Sunderland.
The reason I enlisted I quarrelled with my eldest brother with whom I worked, none of my older three brothers could work with him. The same day, a local officer in the army had been to see my mother and told her that if I didn't join up, I should be conscripted, so she said I had better enlist. This was not true because I was in work of National importance, and I was sole support for my Mother and two young sisters.
The pay for a private was 6 shillings per week, but I had to make an allowance for my widowed mother and 2 sisters which left me three shillings per week. I was really surprised to find, that in France, they used dirty and torn bits of paper and aluminium coins for money.
Here he writes "continue from the red ink" meaning one of the scraps of paper! So I do hope I have them in the correct order and because they were loose, and I may have not found them all.
We were well entertained in Sunderland, we could go out to tea every day. We had cross country running every Saturday and we were entertained by the local towns. Lovely tea parties. I was examined for several drafts but the MO wouldn't pass me owing to my eye sight. This went on until April 1916. A krankie old time Major came round, every time he saw me he asked why I wasn't "over there". I told him they would not pass me fit. He meant me going and he sent me with the next draft being passed fit.
One family (in Sunderland) took particular interest in me, somehow they got my home address and when I told them I was going to France and I wouldn't see them again, they sent for my Mother. My Mother came to see me at the School where we (were) stationed. I could only speak to her through railings. I went to see the Officer in Charge, at first he refused permission to take Mother to these people who had sent for her. I explained she was in a strange town, I pleaded with him, and in the end he let me take her.
I shall never forget the journey to London from one tube station to another. I remember one station, we came out at the street 3 times until we found the one we wanted.
We eventually reached Southampton. We left the next morning, we sailed on the "La Margarite" a paddle steamer*, a beautiful spring morning in April, sailed passed Le Havre, up the River Seine to Rouen. I shall never forget it, the winding river, lovely country. When (we) got to Rouen the MO asked how I had been sent to France (it was stated in my pay-book the state of my eyesight). They passed me unfit, and sent me to Dieppe to work on the docks. I stayed all the summer checking, unloading of timber, living like a civilian. I went to a Medical Board every month. Sometime in September, I went to Medical Board without my pay-book and they passed me A1. I was sent to the Regimental Depot at Etaples-sur-mer.
I went up with a draft of men to relieve as part of the 6th Division York and Lancs.
We went into (the) front line trenches at round about midnight. Went over the top at dawn the next day, it was sheer murder, we were mowed down like ninepins. Me and another lad dropped in a four inch shell crater, we were curled together. I was hit by a bullet on the steel helmet, they hit my rifle and bayonet, and they hit the thick part of my heel of my boot. When the daylight began to fade, I saw some of the party creeping back, but, I was foolish, but lucky. I ran back to the trench, I could feel the bullets rushing past me. When I reached the trench, it was a shambles, dead, wounded and dying.
I would like to mention that before we went over, we were given a ration of Rum. I had never tasted liquor before, it stupefied me and I only recalled what had happened a few days afterwards.
The picture on the left shows a Canadian Casualty Clearing Station under attack in the Trones Wood/Guillemont area in August 1916
I found this picture on the following website. This website tells the story of a very brave man, Captain Noel Godfrey Chavasse, VC and Bar, MC. Please click on the link below for the account of his bravery.
The next night the Battalion went behind the lines for a rest. When the orderly officer saw my paybook, they sent me back to base camp. I was then sent to work at a Railhead Romscamp. After a few weeks, I was posted to Abbeville to work for the French Usine-a-Gaz (gas works), for which I was paid extra money.
One day it was published in Orders, that anyone having had experience in the Mines could get back to Blighty if they were marked unfit. I put my name down on the list and hoped for the best.
I forgot to mention that the trenches were in the village of Guillemont, Trones Wood, and our objective was Les Beuf and ....?
I can't decipher Dad's writing here so I scanned that line and show it below -
Lesboeufs was their first objective, but as yet I can't figure out what the other place(s) are.
In September 2008, Barry and I went on a tour of the Somme Battlefields. Our guide was Vic Piuk and he has translated the two words of my dad's account. The paragraph should read:
"I forgot to mention that the trenches were in the village of Guillemont, Trones Wood, and our objective was Les Beuf and Sailly-Saillisel."
His account though stopped here, I do intend to check with the records held at Kew for the official version of his service. He didn't mention in his written account that he had received a bullet in his wrist. He learnt to knit and crochet as rehabilitation for this wound. This was to become a lifetime hobby. There seem to be several pieces of paper missing, there is no account of his wrist injury and the ending is abrupt; was he refused his discharge? This is something else I'll have to check with the records at Kew.
My father asked my husband to take the photo on the right, this shows a tablecloth he had made for someone and he was very proud of it. He must have been about 65 years old when he crocheted this one.
It was on the last day of our Somme Battlefields tour that we travelled past Trones Wood and through Guillemont on the coach. We had lunch in Longueval and Vic, our guide, accompanied Barry and I on a short walk towards Trones Wood. Vic left us when we could see the bottom of the tear-drop which is the shape of this wood. We walked the rest of the way to the wood but didn't have time to do anything other than take photographs but at least I had been on the very edge of where by dad had been. On our return, Vic gave me a piece of shrapnel which he had found on his way back to the village.
The first three photos above are taken from the coach:
Photo 1 Just passing the edge of Trones Wood.
Photo 2 Guillemont Cemetery, unfortunately this wasn't a scheduled stop.
Photo 3 Guillemont Church - taken as we were passing on the coach so no view of the church spire.
Photo 4 Our coach party having lunch in Longueval.
Photo 5 We could just see Trones wood at the end of the road.
Photo 6 Almost there - Bernafay Wood on the right in the distance.
Photo 7 Just at the bottom corner of the tear-drop shaped Trones Wood. Bernafay Wood can be seen in the distance.
Photo 8 Just feeling a bit weepy here as this was where my dad was in the trenches.
Photo 9 Leaving Trones Wood and walking back to Longueval, Guillemont village can just be seen in the distance and the church spire of Guillemont church.
The following excellent website gives more background to the battles which took place around Guillemont and Trones Wood http://www.ww1battlefields.co.uk/somme/guillemont.html scrolling down through the various articles, you will find photographs of Trones Wood as it must have been when my dad was there.
* I have found a website http://freespace.virgin.net/tom.lee/lamargimg.htm with information and photographs about paddle steamers and including the "La Marguerite" - according to the webmaster of this interesting webpage, Tom Lee, she was requisitioned for use by the Admiralty as a transport ship during the First World War. In 1919 she was chartered by the Isle of Man Steam Packet Co for one season, but then returned to her old Liverpool and Menai Bridge route. She was broken up at Briton Ferry by Wards in 1925.
("Wards" was T.W. Wards - a Sheffield company - my husband, Barry, worked for them in the 1970's in their Publicity Department. Like the ships which they broke up, T.W. Wards is no more!)
Dad's verbal account of his discharge was that he hoped never to go back down the pit and he used his discharge pay by enrolling at the Pitman's School in Leeds. However his money ran out before he completed the course. He had had lessons in administration and often wrote reminders to himself in shorthand. Whilst in France he managed to learn some French as well as German. These new skills though weren't enough to enable him to apply for a clerical job so he got a job with Wath Urban District Council driving their refuse lorries. Image 1: is of Dad posing on the dashboard of his Wath Urban District Council Refuse Lorry. Image 2: is of the post card informing my father that he was being awarded the three medals: the 1914-15 Star; British War Medal; and the Victory Medal. He was most upset when these 'disappeared' from the kitchen drawer where they were always seen when that particular drawer was opened.
I have been a regular visitor to the LDS Church Family History Centre at Grenoside, near Sheffield and was at home browsing through the Family Search Catalogue on their website looking to see what was available and found that the LDS Church had films of the WWI soldiers papers, the so-called "Burnt" or "Unburnt" documents. I printed off the relevant details for both these for the surname BRAITHWAITE, A. and subsequently ordered firstly the "Burnt" record.
Latest Information: Apparently 60% of the records were destroyed in an incendiary air raid in WW2 so I was not that confident about finding Dad's details. However they were there! I was over the moon - my Dad's papers were included in the "Burnt Records".
They are also now available on Ancestry.co.uk and the images are much clearer than those shown in the burnt records films. Dad though appears twice on here: the first entry shows 7 pages and the next shows 10 images. The first page shows his original enlistment form (Army Form B.2512) and details shown are:
Army Form B. 2512
(For the Duration of War, with the Colours and in the Army Reserve).
A T T E S T A T I O N O F 0 5 8 0 2
No. 23995 Name Albert Braithwaite Corps York & Lancaster Regt.
Questions to be put to the Recruit before Enlistment before Enlistment
1. What is your name? Albert Braithwaite
2. What is your full address 26 Winterwell Road, West Melton
3. Are you a British Subject?. Yes
4. What is your Age? 19 Years 6 Months
5. What is your Trade or Calling? Miner, Manvers Main, Wath
6. Are you Married? No.
7. Have you ever served in any branch of His Magesty's Forces, naval or military, if so, which? No.
8. Are you willing to be vaccinated or re-vaccinated? Yes
9. Are you willing to be enlisted for General Service? Yes
10. Did you receive a Notice, and do you understand its meaning, and who gave it to you? Yes T. W. Chase, Sgt.
11. Are you willing to serve upon the following conditions provided His Majesty should so long require your services?
For the duration of the War, at the end of which you will be discharged with all convenient speed. You will be
required to serve for one day with the Colours and the remainder of the p0eriod i8n the Army Reserve in Yes
accordance with the provisions of the Royal Warrant dated 20th Oct, 1915, until such time as you may be called
up by order of the Army Council. If employed with Hospitals, depots of Mounted Units, or as a Clerk, etc., you
may be retained after the termination of hostilities until your services can be spared, but such retention shall in no
case exceed six months.
I, Albert Braithwaite do solemnly declare that the above answers made by me to the above questions are true, and that I am
willing to fulfil the engagements made.
Albert Braithwaite SIGNATURE OF RECRUIT
T. W. Chase, Sgt Signature of Witness
OATH TO BE TAKEN BY RECRUIT ON ATTESTATION
I, Albert Braithwaite swear by Almighty God, that I will be faithful and bear true Allegiance to His Majesty King George the Fifth, His Heirs, and Succcessors, and that I will, as in duty bound, honestly and faithfully defend His Majesty, His Heirs, and Successors, in Persons, Crown, and Dignity against all enemies, and will observe and obey all orders of His Majesty, His Heirs and Successors, and of the Generals and Officers set over me. So help me God.
CERTIFICATE OF MAGISTRATE OR ATTESTING OFFICER
The Recruit above named was cautioned by me that if he made any false answer to any of the above questions he would be liable to be punished as provided by the Army Act.
The above questions were then read to the Recruit in my presence.
I have taken care that he understands each question, and that his answer to each questions has been duly entered as replied, to and the said Recruit has made and signed the declaration and taken the oath before me at WATH ON DEARNE
on this 3 day of 12 1915
Signature of the Justice Brian Everett .......
Certificate of Approving Officer
I certify that this attestation of the above-named Recruit is correct, and properly filled up, and that the required forms appear to have been complied with. I accordingly approve, and appoint him to the YORK & LANCS REGT.
If enlisted by special authority, Army Form B.203 (or other authority for the enlistment) will be attached to the original attestation
Date 31 12 1915 C. C. Johnston Brown, Capt Approving Officer
Page Two was -
DESCRIPTIVE REPORT OF ENLISTMENT
(To correspond with Entries on the Medical History Sheet.).
Applicable to all ranks.
Name? Albert Braithwaite
Apparent age 19 year 6 months Height 5 feet 9.3/4 inches
Chest Measurement Girth when fully expanded 36 inches Range of expansion 3 inches
Dinstinctive marks None
Religion C of E
INFORMATION SUPPLIED BY RECRUIT
Name and Address of next-of-kin Anna Braithwaite 26 Winterwell Rd West Melton
The rest of this page was left blank - the form asked for details of marriage, children and military history,
not relevant to my dad's circumstances
Page Three showed:
STATEMENT of the SERVICES of No. 23995 Name Albert Braithwaite
allowed to reckon
for fixing the
rate of Pension
Signature of Officers certifying
|York & Lancaster Regt.||
|General Service||Attested||Pte.||3.12.15||1||) A. Braithwaite|
|General Service||B||To Army Reserve Transferred||Pte||4.12.15||)|
|"||Posted Y & L.||"||31.12.15||S. Ibbotson Corporal**|
P O S T E D
8 - JAN 1916
G Oxley Lt. Col.
ASSISTANT I/C RECORDS
P O S T E D
10 MAY 1916
G Oxley Lt. Col.
ASSISTANT I/C RECORDS
|Depot||Posted||Pte.||27.8.1917||M. Evans Yrs|
|H:||Transferred under A.C.I.|
|185 of 1917, Miner, Messrs|
|Manvers Main Collieries|
|Ltd Wash-on-Dearne||Pte.||25.9.1917||M. Evans Yrs|
DISCHARGED surplus to Milita re-
quirements not having suffered impairment
since entry into Service,
Para. 3992 (Wa) ???
Signature ..GS Jackson Lt Major for
Officer i/c Records
Plans ......No. 2 ....York....
Home Address: 26 Winterwell Rd.
West Melton, Nr Roptherham
Character: Very Good (Unreadable signature)
Total Service towards Engagement to 14.12.18 (date of discharge) 3 years 12 days (unreadable signature)
" " " Pension to 14.12.18 ( " " " ) not clear here
** Not easy to read - rank could also read "Captain L1"; Signature M. Evans Yrs, also could be mistranscribed
Page four showed the dates and was a hand-written form and page five was this same page repeated:
|Country||Service to count as British or Indian||From||To||Length of Service||
N.B. The Country ? ? be shewn. It is not necessary to show separately the service in the different stations of the same country. England, Scotland, Ireland to be shown under the general term "Home"
For mode of computing Service abroad see Kings Regns.
O. R. No. 38081/551
O.C. Depot York & Lancs
It is notified for information that the undermention proceeded to
Authority W.O. Letter No. 19/Releases/478DR1 dated 24th Nov. 1916
No. 2995 Pte Braithwaite A.
2nd B. York & Lancs Regt.
C.J. Hooper Capt (signed)
The next document (7) was a form:
To be filled in
by the Officer
who issues the
Army Form W.36?????
I have not finished transcribing Dad's papers - more later
If anyone wants to get in touch with me regarding anything on this site please please contact me at -
hilary.jcksn "followed by" @googlemail.com and if anyone objects to anything being included on any page, please let me know.
Updated 21 November 2010