The scrap book of Thomas Cartman provides new material, on many levels, for people interested in military history. Captain Cartman won the Military Cross at Heninel in April 1917. Also see A view from a Heninel Trench
A scrap book was found in a Lancashire skip, which was then linked with the former owner’s school and family, before the BBC took up the story. The enthusiasm of Bury Grammar School’s archivist knows no bounds. He’s just published electronic images of these photos, postcards, orders and notes online. Thomas arrived with the 17th Battalion as a 2nd Lieutenant on 2nd August 1916 – soon after the Battalion’s losses at Guillemont. Thomas had provided Bomber training at his time with 25th Training Reserve Battalion at Altcar. Therefore, it is quite likely he was present at the fatal rifle grenade accident, in September 1916 witnessed by Arthur Bell, in which three men were killed and a number wounded. The Battalion Official History records that Thomas was one of only three Officers who survived the failed assault on Flers. This was Arthur Bell was wounded and subsequently invalided out of the Army. Flers also marked the final action on the Somme, but the Battalion and Thomas went on to fight through 1917 & 18.
My current highlight is the letter from the 17th Battalion Commanding Officer, Colonel Fearenside (A Company’s original 2-I-C) , when the Battalion was disbanded in May 1918 “The occasion of the final disbandment…the Commanding Officer wishes to express…his appreciation of the splendid work…during nearly 3 years of active service….The Commanding Officer is proud to have commanded such a fine Battalion…dear to the hearts of the people of MANCHESTER and that it will live on as a splendid memory.”
See for yourselves at Captain Thomas Cartman Scrapbook_Part_1.pdf. and Captain Thomas Cartman – Scrapbook_Part_2.pdf. More of the skip tale can be found at http://www.bgsalumni.com/the-great-war-scrapbook-of-captain-thomas-cartman/
Well done Mark Hone. You will help the 17th Battalion “…live on as a splendid memory.”
nb edit for T. Cartman’s arrival