Remembering General Sir Andrew Skeen, KCB, KCIE, CMG (1873-1935)

On the wall inside St Michael and All Angels Church, Church Street, Broadway is a wooden memorial plaque in remembrance of General Sir Andrew Skeen, KCB, KCIE, CMG, who died, aged 61, in Broadway in 1935. General Sir Andrew Skeen was one of Britain’s most experienced frontier warfare officers.

Andrew was born in Meerut, India, on 20th January 1873, the fifth son of Scottish parents, Deputy Surgeon-General William and Janet Keane Skeen. He was educated and Aberdeen Grammar School and first commissioned on 5th December 1891 to the British Indian Army. In 1897 he served on the North West Front with the Malakand Force and was lated posted to China (in 1900) during the Boxer Rebellion before being posted to Somaliland from 1901 to 1904.

On 22nd December 1905 he married Margaret Jane Farquharson in Bombay, India.

Following the outbreak of the First World War he served in Gallipoli as staff officer to General Sir William Birdwood, Australian and New Zealand Army Corps. In 1915 he was mentioned in dispatches for reinforcing Anzac Cove in full view of the enemy prior to the Battle of Sari Bair. For his service at Gallipoli he was awarded the CMG and the French Croix de Guerre. Andrew’s brother, Major Oliver St John Skeen DSO, whilst serving with the 62nd Punjabis was killed in action, aged 41, in Mesopotamia on 21st January 1916 and he is buried in Amara War Cemetery, Iraq. At the time of his death, Oliver’s wife, Mabel, was living in Cheltenham.

Andrew went on to be Director of Military Operations at the Indian Army Headquarters in 1916 and in 1917 was appointed Deputy Chief of Staff, Indian Army.

He was promoted to Major General in 1918 and, during the 3rd Afghan War in 1919, he commanded the 3rd Indian Infantry Brigade and the Kohat Kurram Force. During the subsequent revolt in Waziristan (1919-1920) he successfully led the Tochi and Derajat Columns. Andrew served as commander of the Kohat District from 1921 to 1922 and of the Peshawar District from 1922 to 1923. He was promoted to Lieutenant-General then appointed Commander of Southern Command (1923-1924) before serving as Chief of the General Staff, Indian Army from 1924 to 1928.

Due to poor health he retired in 1929 and his book, published in 1932, entitled Passing it on: short talks on tribal fighting on the North-West Frontier of India was issued to all officers’ and sergeants’ messes in India and remains a classic on the subject to this day.

Andrew Skeen and his wife, Margaret Jane (née Farquharson), lived at Trinafour in Broadway. He died, aged 61 on 18th February 1935. He was cremated at Golders Green Crematorium in London and his ashes were scattered in Scotland. Lady Margaret Jane Skeen died in 1965.

 

Debbie Williamson
Broadway Remembers

 

Sources:
Ancestry.co.uk
Commonwealth War Graves Commission
National Army Museum

 

 

 

 

Trooper Frank Cotterell Wounded in Gallipoli, August 1915

Francis Cotterell, known as Frank, was the eldest son of Samuel and Frances Cotterell. His father farmed land on Willersey Hill above Broadway and owned The Fish Inn at the top of Fish Hill. Frank enlisted with the Warwickshire Yeomanry at the beginning of the First World War and was posted to Egypt in April 1915 before being transferred to Gallipoli in the middle of August.

The Warwickshire Yeomanry arrived at Suvla Bay on the 18th August and during the Battle of Scimitar Hill, Frank was injured, receiving a gunshot wound to the wrist. By the end of the month, Frank had been evacuated from Gallipoli to the 15th General Hospital in Alexandria and was later posted home to recuperate. Whilst in hospital in Egypt, Frank wrote that his “wound was not going on as well as it should, the weather being too hot for wounds” and that he could not sleep.

At the end of the war Frank returned home and married Minnie Meadows in 1920. Frank died, aged 80, in 1965.

Remembered Today: Private 21387 W.G. Scrivens, 4th Battalion Worcestershire Regiment

Private Scrivens, who was serving with the 4th Battalion Worcestershire Regiment in Gallipoli in August 1915, was initially reported as missing in action but was later declared as having been killed in action, aged 27 on 6th August 1915. William George Scrivens, known as George was the second son of Thomas and Harriet Scrivens of Broadway. Prior to his enlistment George worked for Messrs. Steward and Company as a builders labourer. He enlisted in January 1915 and after training with the 5th Battalion Worcestershire Regiment had been transferred to the 4th Battalion.

George was posted to Gallipoli spending a short time en-route in Alexandria, Egypt. On 22nd July 1915, he wrote home:

“We have landed at the base after a splendid voyage, but very hot. This is a rum place, it is shoe-top deep in sand, and with the wind blowing you can’t see half the time. We have to sleep in the open with one blanket, so you can tell it is no picnic. I wish you can see the warships it is a fine sight; you can hear their guns going as I write. This is a somewhat different country to England; all you can see is bare sand. You would laugh if you could see us. We have cut off our trousers at the knees, and with helmets on look like boy scouts. Excuse the dirty paper; between sweat and sand I can’t keep it clean.”

George further wrote on 3rd August:

“This is a rum place and a rum life. If you get any money there is nothing to buy. The worst job is getting something to drink. We are given two cups of tea a day, and that is not much. I should like to get hold of a pint of beer or cider and a good plate of cabbage and sprouts out of the garden. There’s nothing of that here, but all tinned stuff, and that salty, but it is no good grumbling. I should like some of them that sit in the pubs at home and talk about how it should be done to be out here.”

Three days later Private George Scrivens was killed in action. He is commemorated on the Broadway War Memorial and the Helles Memorial on the tip of the Gallipoli Peninsula.

 

 

Remembered Today: Pte 13862 Harry Gordon Lambley 10th (Service) Worcestershire Regiment of Childswickham

Whilst researching the men of Broadway who fought in the First World War, I came across a number of men from the neighbouring village of Childswickham, many of whom had enlisted to serve for their country with men from Broadway.

One of the first men from Childswickham to enlist was Harry Gordon Lambley. Harry, born in 1894, was the eldest son of William Lambley and Elizabeth Lambley (nee Agg) of The Cross, Childswickham. A gardener, who worked for his uncle Mr. H.Smith (a market gardener of New Street), Harry enlisted with the Worcestershire Regiment on 13th August 1914 and trained on Salisbury Plain and Blackdown before being sent to the Dardanelles (Gallipoli) in June 1915 where he took part in the landings at Suvla Bay. Whilst in the Dardanelles Harry contracted dysentery and was sent back to England to recover.

On 29th February 1916, his 22nd birthday, Harry was sent to France and took part in the storming of the village La Boiselle during the Battle of the Somme. His platoon got caught up in barbed wire crossing No Man’s Land and suffered many losses as men fell under heavy machine gunfire. A few found shelter in a shell hole but Harry was not one of them and he was initially declared as missing in action.

A memorial service for Harry, conducted by the Rev. J.E. Thompson at St Mary’s Church, Childswickham, was held several months later after he was officially declared as killed in action on 3rd July 1916. A fellow serving Worcester, Pte G. Harris, wrote in response to information about Harry and comrade Corporal William Edward Reeves1 “The last time I saw these two men they were at the back of a wall at La Boiselle fighting Germans for all they were worth. The Germans were only fifty yards away on the other side of the wall and Lieut. Ellis told them to get back into the trench but they went on fighting round the corner of the wall. I was wounded and do not know what happened after that.”

Harry is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial and memorial plaque inside Childswickham Memorial Hall.

He sleeps, not in his native land,
But under foreign skies,
Far from those who loved him best,
In a hero’s grave he lies.

Harry’s younger brother Felix Wilfred Lambley, who worked as a baker in Broadway, also fought in the war. Felix enlisted with the Royal Warwickshire Regiment on 9th December 1914 (Private 9579) with a number of men from Broadway including Private 9562 George Barnett. Felix received a gunshot wound to the head at Arras in November 1915 and was discharged from the army on 18th July 1916.

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Notes:
1. Corporal 15832 William Edward Reeves was born on 17th August 1896 in Gloucester, the son and first born child of John Edward Reeves and Edith Susannah Reeves (nee Trenfield also spelt Trunkfield). Prior his enlistment, William lived with his parents and siblings at 49 Lysons Avenue, Gloucester, and he worked as a clerk at Gloucester Co-operative Stores. William was declared as missing in action the same day as Harry Lambley and was officially declared dead in July 1917. William is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial.

Debbie Williamson
Broadway Remembers
July 2015

Broadway Remembers Gallipoli

The Gallipoli Campaign began 100 years ago today on 25th April 1915. This year, the hundreds of thousands of men from across the world who fought and died at Gallipoli a century ago are being remembered and we remember the following men of Broadway who died during the campaign, part of the Middle Eastern Theatre of the First World War. All of the following Broadway men are commemorated on the Helles Memorial on the tip of the Gallipoli Peninsula:

  • Private 19218 Richard K. Handy 9th Battalion Worcstershire Regiment, born in Broadway in 1883, who was killed in action, aged 32, on 4th November. Private Handy is also commemorated on the Evesham War Memorial.
  • Private 21387 Wilfred G. Scrivens 4th Battalion Worcestershire Regiment, born in Broadway in 1885, who was killed in action, on 6th August 1915 and is also commemorated on the Broadway War Memorial.
  • Private  19365 Walter E. Spiers 4th Battalion Worcestershire Regiment, born in Broadway in 1884, who died at sea, aged 31, on 31st August 1915. Private Spiers is also commemorated in St Peter’s Church, Inkberrow, Worcestershire.
  • Private 10754 Wilfred G. Tandy 9th (Service) Battalion Royal Warwickshire Regiment, born in Broadway in 1885, who was killed, aged 30, by enemy fire whilst refilling his water bottle at a nullah on 7th August 1915. Private Tandy is also commemorated on the Broadway War Memorial.

 

Helles Memorial (Commonwealth War Graves Commission0

Helles Memorial (Commonwealth War Graves Commission

 

Further information about the men from Broadway commemorated on the war memorial on the village green can be found in ‘Broadway Remembers’ (a not-for-profit publication published to coincide with the global First World War Centenary commemorations led by the Imperial War Museum. Proceeds to the Poppy Appeal).

 

Debbie Williamson
Broadway Remembers

© Debbie Williamson and Broadway Remembers, 2014. Unauthorised use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Debbie Williamson and Broadway Remembers with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

 

 

Remembered Today: Two cousins Pte 15372 Albert H. Clarke, 11th Battalion Worcestershire Regiment and Pte 29206 George T. Handy 9th (Service) Battalion Gloucestershire Regiment

Albert Henry Clarke, was born in Broadway in 1893, the third son of Albert and Emma Mary Clarke. After leaving school, Albert worked for Thomas Bayliss, grocer, corn and offal dealer of Sheldon House, Broadway. Shortly after the outbreak of the First World War, Albert enlisted with Kitchener’s Army in Broadway in September 1914 and joined the Worcestershire Regiment. After a period of training on Salisbury Plain, Albert was posted to Gallipoli in June 1915. During his time in Gallipoli, Albert was injured by a kick from a horse and was transported back to England where he recuperated in a hospital in Stockport, Cheshire.

Albert later rejoined his regiment and in August 1916 was posted to the 11th (Service) Battalion in Salonika. The following year, during the night of 24th/25th April 1917, the Battle of Doiran, Albert, who had just turned 24, was killed in action. He is commemorated on the Doiran Memorial, Greece, and the Broadway War Memorial.

Two of Albert’s cousins also fought in Salonika. His cousin George Thomas Handy, known as Thomas, was born in Broadway in 1880. After leaving school Thomas was apprenticed as a baker and after his marriage to Clara Porter in 1901, moved to Moreton-in-Marsh, Gloucestershire, where he set up his own bakery and was greenkeeper at Moreton-in-Marsh Golf Club. Thomas enlisted with the 9th (Service) Battalion Gloucestershire Regiment and was also killed during the night of 24th April 1917 when he was hit by a shell. Thomas is buried in Karasouli Military Cemetery, Polykastro, and he is commemorated on the Moreton-in-Marsh War Memorial as ‘Thomas G. Handy’.

Cousin Wilson William Keyte was born in Broadway in 1885. Wilson enlisted with the Worcestershire Regiment and served with Albert with the 11th (Service) Battalion in Salonika. Wilson was awarded the Military Medal for stretcher-bearing duties during the Battle of Doiran and after the end of the war was awarded the Greek Military Cross. Wilson died, aged 64, in 1949.

 

Doiran Memorial, Greece (Commonwealth War Graves Commission)

Doiran Memorial, Greece (Commonwealth War Graves Commission)

 

Albert is one of 48 commemorated on the Broadway War Memorial. Further information about Albert, his cousins and fellow men from Broadway commemorated on the memorial can be found in ‘Broadway Remembers’ (a not-for-profit publication published to coincide with the global First World War Centenary commemorations led by the Imperial War Museum. Proceeds to the Poppy Appeal).

 

 

Debbie Williamson
Broadway Remembers

© Debbie Williamson and Broadway Remembers, 2014. Unauthorised use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Debbie Williamson and Broadway Remembers with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Broadway Men Commemorated on the Evesham War Memorial

The Evesham War Memorial on the slopes of Abbey Park between the River Avon and the Bell Tower, was unveiled and dedicated by the Vicar of Evesham at 3pm on Sunday 7th August 1921 following a parade of 500 ex-servicemen along the High Street to the park. Present at the ceremony was: The Lord Lieutenant of Worcestershire, The Right Hon. The Earl of Coventry PC; The High Steward of Evesham, Commander B.M. Eyres Monsell RN, MP; Mrs Haynes-Rudge; The Lord Mayor, various town officials and over 5,000 people.

The war memorial, on a site given by the Rudge family (who once owned a large portion of the abbey estate) was designed by Mr H.E. Dicks. It is built of Cotswold stone with sculpture (a bronze figure of a soldier) by Henry Poole RA. The memorial has the date 1920 as the date of the end of the war inscribed on it. This is because the Worcestershire Regiment were sent out to Russia after the armistice where peace was not declared until 1920. The memorial was cleaned and refurbished by the Town Council with the help of the War Memorials Trust during the summer of 2014.

Amongst the men and women of both world wars commemorated on the memorial is Private 5767 William Harold Gabb who was the first soldier born in Broadway, Worcestershire, to die in the First World War. William, born in 1880, served with the 3rd Battalion Coldstream Guards and died on 7th November 1914 on the Western Front. William is also commemorated on the Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial.

Private 19218 Richard Keyte Handy is also commemorated on the memorial. Richard was born in Broadway in 1883 and attended Broadway First School. He moved to Evesham, where he worked as a builder’s labourer, after his marriage to Sarah Ann Hartwell in 1905. Richard served with the Worcestershire Regiment and was posted to Gallipoli where he died on 4th November 1915. Richard is also commemorated on the Helles Memorial, Turkey.

 

Debbie Williamson
Broadway Remembers (ISBN 978-0-9929891-0-1)
Raising money for the Royal British Legion’s Poppy Appeal