GUEST BOOK

Feel free to introduce yourself and tell us what you’re looking for?

Any comments are welcome.  Some of the most exciting elements of this project has been the sharing of information, records and photographs.  Just a quick comment expressing your view or research queries will also be welcome.  The development of the internet opens new resources on a regular basis.  Queries, ideas, hypotheses and guess work can then be developed over time.

If anyone is disappointed or upset by any clumsy or inappropriate content, let me know.  Best wishes to all visitors to the site.

163 thoughts on “GUEST BOOK

  1. Anne Wakefield

    Hello, I am the oldest grandchild of William (Bill) Priestley Brock who is mentioned in these records. I greatly appreciated being able to read about him. Thank you.

    Reply
  2. Reg Oakley

    Hello, my Gt uncle Edwin Burrows is commemorated on the Thiepval memorial. He was lost 12th October 1916. I notice Gt Granddaughters have also left commemorations on the British Legion site. If there is any way I can contact these distant cousins, I would be pleased.

    Reply
    1. 8055bell Post author

      Hi Reg,
      Thanks for your comments.
      Edwin was one of the Berkshire Regiment men who arrived in France on 1st July 1916. He was then attached to the Manchesters on 11th July and transferred on 1st September. I spent quite a lot of time researching these men to see if they fought at Guillemont on 30th July and found they did. https://17thmanchesters.wordpress.com/guillemont/royal-berkshire-regiment-men-attached-to-17th-manchesters/
      As a 36 year old married man, he enlisted in Acton where he lived with his extensive family. His Service Record is on line.
      Finding other relatives is great and I hope you can make contact. I have no tips though. If you find a photo, or other info. please let me know. I’ll add it to his Obituary on https://17thmanchesters.wordpress.com/2013/10/12/anniversary-12th-october-1916-flers-losses-for-17th-manchesters/
      Watch this post where I’ll be adding the Service Record details.
      Tim

      Reply
  3. Anne Wakefield

    Thank you so much for getting back to me and for providing so much information about my grandfather, William (Bill) Priestley Brock. I was thrilled to see the photograph. I shall be travelling for the next couple of months but hope to carry on my research into his life and will send you some information when I have it. I was very moved to think of you at Montauban on Ist July. I hope to visit there myself sometime in the future.

    Reply
  4. Allan Seaborn

    Thank you so much for the information about Edward Seaborn. My only other comment is to ask for an amendment to be made – Edward became William towards the end of the piece !!

    Reply
    1. 8055bell Post author

      Hi Allan,
      I sometimes wonder how my mind works…
      The post has been corrected.
      I went to Heninel on 1st July on the way back from the Somme. It’s such a peaceful place, making the horrors of the Arras battle seem impossible. Then I found two isolated cemeteries with Manchester and Royal Scots Fusiliers to make a statement for all the 90th Brigade losses. Cuckoo Passage and Cherisy Road are well worth a visit when you’re passing down the autoroute

      Reply
  5. Vin Staniforth

    Many thanks for your hard work with this site. My grandfather served in the 17th Manchesters: Pte Thomas Staniforth 9427. Enlisted in Feb 1915. I’ve never seen any photographs of him at all, so you can imagine my surprise when I saw (on this site) the roll call of E Company, XX Platoon, from 1915. Pte Staniforth is listed as being in the photo. Is there any way of matching the soldiers with the names in the Roll? He was 37 yrs old when he joined up, so I guess he’s one of the older looking blokes.

    On another note, I’m going for a few days’ walking around the Somme in September. Retracing some 17 Man steps and also those of my great-uncle Edmind Staniforth who was in the 1st Cheshires – KIA 3 Sept 1916 during the attack on Falfemont Farm. If anyone would like photos taking of a relative’s headstone etc I’d be more than happy to oblige. I’ll be staying in Albert and striking out from there each day.

    Reply
    1. 8055bell Post author

      Hi Vin,
      Thanks for your comments. I’m afraid we don’t know the order of the men in the Platoon photos. On the other hand, you are lucky that Thomas’ Service Record survived the Blitz https://17thmanchesters.wordpress.com/2015/12/13/17th-battalion-service-records/
      I can’t quite read the reason for his Pension Award, possibly Bronchitis – possibly due to gas. Please let us know if you know anything else about him and I’ll add it.
      Enjoy the Somme trip. The first is the best, particularly on such a day!
      Tim

      Reply
  6. Pingback: 17th Battalion Service Records | 17th Battalion Manchester Regiment on the Somme

  7. 8055bell Post author

    Vin, You have another Gt Uncle who served in the Manchesters. 2822 John Staniforth enlisted in the 8th Bttn in Sept 1914. He was discharged unfit in 1916 with a heart complaint originating during, but not caused by his service. The condition would be aggravated by Service. John died in 1920 and if this was due to his heart complaint, his grave in Gorton may become recognised as a War Grave. If this is something that interests you, please let me know. IF you are in Manchester, please visit Gorton and take a photo of his grave. http://www.burialrecords.manchester.gov.uk/GenLocDetails.aspx?ID=182647
    Tim

    Reply
  8. Vin Staniforth

    Thanks Tim, yes we knew about Gt Uncle John. I have his records along with my Grandad’s. If I’m reading John’s record correctly, he never went overseas? It was he who died in 1920, however, not Thomas 🙂

    I live in Manchester so I will certainly make the trip to the Gorton cemetery.

    Best wishes,

    Vin

    Reply
  9. 8055bell Post author

    Hi Vin,
    I’ve corrected the typo reference to Thomas. Do the records for John say anything about cause of death? The Service Records you hold may tell us more. He stayed at Home according to the Pension Record.
    If his death relates to the Heart complaint CWGC may recognise his burial. I’m waiting for a Death Certificate to find this out.
    I’ve identified a photo in Gorton grave plot. It is unmarked at the moment….

    Reply
  10. Caroline Wilson

    Hi Tim

    I came across your brilliant website several years ago whilst researching my grandfather for a WW1 school project for my son. My grandfather was Oscar Michael Hetherington. Born 6th March 1894. 8649 17th Battalion Manchester Regiment. Along with a few family ‘anecdotes’ and finding his medal card index and the Battalion War Diary on-line, plus reading Michael Stedman’s Manchester Pals book, I was able to piece together a little of what his life in WW1 might have been like, but I was unable to find out specifics.

    In the past couple of years, clearing out my parents house, we have uncovered a few more pieces of the jigsaw puzzle finding photographs of him (and his brother) in uniform, notations in a large family bible of the dates when he enlisted, was wounded (on two separate occasions),when he was gazetted; his medals; his RFC/RAF log book etc. But there were still gaps and I kept hitting brick walls trying to get more detail…
    (All family letters of this period were destroyed apparently, but incredibly I have found a handwritten account of some of his WW1 experiences, written in the ‘40s when he was a recruiting officer in India, for a talk he gave on the ‘role of an officer’.)

    Then just recently, with my family interested to try and find out more, we came across the discussion on the forum between timberman, yourself and charlie last Nov …. about him! It created great interest here and it explains some of the brick walls…We have just got a copy of the John Hartley book on the 17th Manchesters (£10!) and been able to read my grandfather’s biog and see him in his platoon photo (15th Platoon, D company).

    We are planning on visiting the National Archives at Kew, where we have discovered both his Army and RFC service records are now available. I also hope to get a copy of the 19th Battalion War Diary for the period we now know he served with them in 1917 – after becoming a 2nd Lt in March until he was wounded 31st July (his name was apparently misspelt as ‘Etherington’ in the 19th Battalion’s history records.)

    We are also interested to try and find out more details of what happened to him in early 1916 if possible, and also how he was wounded on 5th May (as noted in the family bible). Any ideas where else to research?
    ( My grandparents lived with us for several years in the ‘70s til his death in 1978 – he never spoke of his war experiences, and as a teenager growing up, I never thought to ask – how I wish!)

    Lastly, once I have gathered as much as I can about his time during WW1 would any of this information/including photographs be of interest for your website and/or the Manchester Regiment or any other site?

    Apologies for long missive, just much excitement in this household with latest information.

    Thank you in advance for any help/advice – and for your incredibly informative website.
    Caroline

    Reply
    1. 8055bell Post author

      Caroline,
      There is an Official Record of the 19th Bttn which mentions OM Etherington been wounded at Ypres The 19th Bttn War Diary has the correct spelling. I can’t add much more to what John has already written. On 5th May 1916, 1 man was killed by German artillery.https://17thmanchesters.wordpress.com/early-days-in-france/the-cost-of-trench-life/ He was in D Coy and I suspect Oscar was wounded in the same circumstances. He is buried at Suzanne, which probably means the Company were in that area, rather than Maricourt – where they would otherwise have been buried. The War Diary says 4 men were wounded on 5th May and it appears D Coy were in Vaux Wood.
      I suggest you buy the War Diaries from National Archives. Less than £4 each and you may find more on Oscar, particularly the 19th Diary. The Court Martial is very interesting, particularly with his Commission so soon after. AWOL is very strange and I suspect you’ll find more at NA in Kew. Do let me know what you find.
      I’d be delighted to create a post on this site for Oscar with any photos and documents. These personal biogs. make this project especially interesting for me and others – I hope. I will email you if this is what you would like.
      Also try the absent voters list to see where he was in the Summer of 1918.
      Cheers
      Tim
      ps Oscar is mentioned on the Co-operative Wholesale Society Roll of Honour.

      Reply
      1. Caroline Wilson

        Many thanks for this Tim
        We will explore the various routes you have suggested and, hoping we can fill in some of the gaps, will let you know. Yes, the AWOL/Court Martial/demotion/then suspension of punishment early 1916 followed by being wounded on 5th May then his Commission soon after has intrigued us, so hoping it becomes clear.
        And, yes please, let me know how to forward relevant biog/photos/documents etc for my grandfather, via email I presume, for your website. I agree, being able to read a little of these men’s lives, and their experiences knowing your relative has shared them, somehow personalises and heightens what an extraordinary thing they did enlisting for and taking part in this war.
        Best wishes
        Caroline

  11. 8055bell Post author

    Hi Caroline,
    The WordPress account has updated and I’m really stuck. Please can you follow the Blog and that will give me an email address. It’s not good placing emails here because spammers will take it. I’ll delete this post when you’ve done the follow

    Reply
  12. Bill Edwards

    Hi,
    New to this site so forgive the errors. I am Bill Edwards, living in Derbyshire. Some 40 years ago I bought a group of medals (WW1 War & Victory plus a memorial plaque) to Arthur Leonard Sheldon. Since I retired, I have been trying to put as much history as I can, behind the draw full of medals unsystematically collected over the years. Which brings me to Arthur.

    Pte 9258 Arthur Leonard Sheldon, 17th Battalion Manchester (perhaps ‘reserve’) Regiment. Born 1889, resided 118 Tower Rd, Aston, Warwck, then of 39 Silver St, Miles Platting, baptised (along with his brother and 3 sisters!) at St Johns (Miles Platting) 26 March 1897, then moved to 160 Varley St, Miles Platting. He would have been 24 / 25 when he enlisted. He was killed in action on 30 July 1916 and is buried in the Danzig Alley Brit Cem. Mametz, ref vii U2.

    I have copies of his medal roll and effects but I draw a blank with his service record and troop actions. I cannot help feeling that, when I look at the 17th Battalion photos there is Arthur.

    If any of you could extend some help I would be very grateful, with my regards,
    Bill

    Reply
  13. Graham Dilliway

    Hello Seventeenth Manchester Guest Book
    I have some information on Lt Edward Melland Schill who lived in Alderley Edge and died on 25 August 1916 during the battles of Trones Wood. The information includes some photos and a few pages of text. Melland’s sister, Olive, left a bequest in Melland’s name to University of Manchester to promote international law with the aim of reducing the risks of armed conflict and the Melland Schill fund is still going strong.

    Reply
    1. 8055bell Post author

      Hi Graham,
      It seems Lt Schill served with Lancs Fusils, rather than Manchesters. I suggest you ask on the Great War Forum to find more details. Great that he isn’t forgotten.
      Tim

      Reply
  14. Christine Harle

    My Gt Gt Uncle was wounded and captured at Guillemont on 23/7/16. He was from the 5th Royal Fusiliers but his first postcard home to his family about being wounded he called himself 19th Manchesters. From JUne 1917 his postcards and letters read from 5th Royal Fusiliers. He was from and lived in Ealing London. He lived to return home after going from POW camps and then to Switzerland where he was kept untill the war ended. I have a wonderful collection of letters and postcards from him. I thank my grandmother ( his young neice at the time ) for keeping them safe for me to find.

    Reply
    1. 8055bell Post author

      Hi Christine,
      Thanks for your comment.
      The 5th Bttn of the (London Regiment) Royal Fusiliers was a Reserve Bttn that remained in the UK for the duration of hostilites. It’s objective was to train men to be sent to the front in the other Regular Bttns of the RF. When they were ready, they went to France for posting at one of the Infantry Brigade Depots.
      By late July 1916, the drafts of men from England were mainly posted where they were needed, rather than staying with their original Regiment. As such it’s very likely your Gt Uncle was attached to the 19th Manchesters in mid July 1916 and captured in their failed assault on Guillemont.
      In my post on Guillemont (below) I found that men from the R Berks (and RF) were attached to the 17th Bttn in mid July and not formerly transferred until 1 September 1916. It thus makes sense that your Gt Uncle was shown as 5th RF POW, because that was still his host Regiment and it was only men that remained at duty with the Manchesters that would’ve been transferred.
      If you provide a name & number, I’ll see if I can find any more data for you.
      If postcards or letters show other Manchester men, it would be good to see them.

      Cheers
      Tim

      https://17thmanchesters.wordpress.com/guillemont/royal-berkshire-regiment-men-attached-to-17th-manchesters/

      Reply
  15. Feona King

    Hello. I have just learnt that my Great great grandfather was Pt. Edwin Burrows 43278. (I was a Barnado’s baby). Are there any battalion/regimental photos archived that I could see? Any info would be welcome as I have no contact with any biological family. I cannot express the pride I have in learning my g g grandfather was prepared to lay his life down for his country. Remembrance Day will have an extra special significance for me this year.
    Thank you so much for this site.
    Feona King

    Reply
    1. 8055bell Post author

      Hi Feona, It is great you’re finding your heritage and it’s wonderful to think that Edwin Burrows will still be commemorated. This is the basic details I have
      Edwin BURROWS 43278 – Born Oxford. Enlisted Acton, Middx. KiA. Formerly 19171, Royal Berks Regt.. Age 37. Son of Charles and Martha Burrows; husband of Helen Burrows. THIEPVAL
      Edwin joined the Battalion in mid July 1916 and took part in the assault on Guillemont. Have a look at https://17thmanchesters.wordpress.com/guillemont/royal-berkshire-regiment-men-attached-to-17th-manchesters/

      Flers was the next attack, where Edwin was killed and my grandad was wounded on 12th October 1916. https://17thmanchesters.wordpress.com/flers/

      I have access to quite a lot more data ans will report back later. No photo yet. Sorry.

      Edwin had 6 children. Which is your grandparent?

      Cheers
      Tim

      Reply
      1. Feona King

        My grandmother was Eileen K born in 1904. I should qualify ‘no contac’t with biological family. There is a distant cousin whom I have been in touch with but nothing else. They do not want to know. However, I am so looking forward to finding out more about Edwin’s period in the Military. I must take after him as I served as well. Not WWWl though. LOL.
        Thank you for your response and assistance.
        Cheers,
        Feona

      2. Feona King

        I have just read the WordPress piece on Edwin. I am thrilled to have an account of a period in his life. You have no idea what it means to someone who has never known their biological family to learn a past relative gave their life for their country. I hold Edwin in high esteem.
        Thank you.

      3. 8055bell Post author

        It is my true pleasure to share information on men who served in the Battalion. If I find more details, I’ll add it and let you know.

        I firmly recommend a trip to the Somme. Taking in the Edwin’s inscription on Thiepval Memorial will be an ovewhelming memory for your lifetime (Take Tissues). I have a photo, but I think it best you see for yourself.

        Let me know in advance and I can make sure you can follow some of Edwin’s footsteps.
        Cheers
        Tim
        ps All families have challenges. Your Gt Grandad would be proud you’ve served your country too.

  16. Mark

    Dear Tim, recent acquisition of 8850 LCpl Ronald’s British War Medal led me to trying to identify all members of the Battalion who were mentioned in despatches and I have come up with a list of 17, which I believe is fairly comprehensive. More than happy to let you have the list (with LG details) if you would like to add them to the blog’s honours and medals page.

    Reply
  17. Sheila Mary Donatantonio

    A wonderful and moving tribute to the men who gave so much and to the women and families of all involved. May they Rest in Peace.

    Reply
    1. 8055bell Post author

      Thank you Sheila, It’s rewarding to have this feedback. If you have any particular research interest with the Battalion / Regiment, please let me know. I’d be happy to have a look through records for you.
      Tim

      Reply
  18. Pingback: Lance Corporal 8649 (Lieutenant) Oscar Michael Hetherington | 17th Battalion Manchester Regiment on the Somme

  19. Susan davies

    I have been researching my great uncle Pte George William Rodger 9511 who died on 1/07 1916. I had little information about him but have learnt much about the 17th Manchester regt. The site is amazing, thank you.

    Reply
    1. 8055bell Post author

      Hi Susan,
      Thanks for your post and appreciation on the site. Ultimatley it’s personal connections with 17th Bttn men that make the project more engaging. I’ll make a seperate post for George and let you know.
      All the best.
      Tim

      Reply
  20. Susan Davies

    Hi Tim. I was so excited to receive such a prompt response from you and thrilled to see George with his own post on the site. The information you have given has helped in understanding why he had no grave when he had died of wounds.It always puzzled me.
    I had only recently found the same newspaper article showing his photo. No one in the family knew what he looked like. I keep looking at him!
    I too had seen the photo of the platoon and thought George would be on it. However I visited Manchester Central Library and checked the book of the Manchester City Battalions ,he is listed as not being present on the day the photo was taken. The book refers to supplementary photos on pages 98 and 99 which show the remaining men. I assume George is one of those .
    I can’t wait to pass on this information to my two aunts ( nieces of George) and to show them his photo. I feel as though George is back with his family.
    Thank you so much. Susan.

    Reply
    1. 8055bell Post author

      Hi Sue, I was speculating about George being buried by his mates. It’s still a bit of a mystery as he may have gone back to duty to later ‘dissapear’, or simply ‘dissapeared’, possibly in transit to other medical attention. I have a bad habit of guessing.

      There are a few 17th Bttn casualties noted as wounded and found to be casualties at Montauban – we can solely be certain that George was entered on a wounded list at some stage on 1/2 July and witnessed as dead later.

      I went a long way down this road with Alfred Drake Hooley, with no real conclusion. I think I found his grave though (more speculation – see) https://17thmanchesters.wordpress.com/seeking-the-missing-100-men-from-montauban/the-charge-on-montauban/

      I’m sorry to have posted the wrong picture. I’ve added the supplementary pics (98-99) at the bottom of the post. If you can work out which is George, I can zoom the camera in to get a better portrait from the Book. It’s a bit anomolous that the caption says A-B & C-D Coys on the image, yet the Pln lists say these pages include E Coy. If you can’t see George, I’ll ask some brighter afficianados for a tip. I confirm that 18th Bttn Roll starts after these 2 pics.

      Which of George’s sisters was your Grandmother please? I prefer to show the context and she deserves the ‘credit’.
      Cheers
      Tim

      Reply
  21. Susan Davies

    Hi Tim
    I’ve studied the extra photos trying to pinpoint George but I can’t say with any degree of confidence which one he could be. I’ll keep looking .
    My grandmother was Nora, she was a couple of years older than George and I am told that they were very close.
    By the way, Arthur ( George’s friend) also lived on Union Street at no 5.
    Thanks, Susan.

    Reply
  22. Roger Sharp

    I stumbled upon the story of Bert Brown’s war, and how he eventually was killed. It was an incredibly moving. I then found out that my grandfather, Thomas Goldsmith, was his commanding officer and there was a series of letters he had written to Bert’s family, both in transcript and original form.

    Just last month my wife and I said we’d go over to France this year and see where he fought. I never met my grandfather but my grandmother told me that he never talked about the war afterwards.

    It was only recently that I discovered he had signed up right at the start because he had a solid silver “Sans Changer” uniform badge that was only given by Lord Derby to the very first volunteers. Reading on, I found out that in April 1918 he had been awarded the MC, and shortly after, the Bar to the MC.

    It seems he won these around the time that Bert was killed, and Bert’s family have located where that happened quite precisely. He was one of the last people to see Bert alive. It will be an honour to be able to pay Bert our last respects when we’re over there.

    I still feel quite shaky and emotional about this, coming upon it by chance.

    Thank you so much for putting the site together.

    Kind regards

    Roger Sharp

    Reply
    1. 8055bell Post author

      Welcome on Board. I’ve never heard pf the Sans Changer badge before. I think this may relate to his KLR service. To keep matters simple, let’s use the Bert Brown post for our discourse.
      Cheers
      Tim

      Reply
  23. Heather Johnson

    I have just discovered Douglas William Crick commemorated here, whilst researching the Military Heart Hospital in Colchester. He would be a prime candidate for “bringing in from the cold”. You have obviously researched him well and would be in a position to put forward all that as evidence in an application to have him being officially recognised as “War Dead” by the CWGC. I achieved this for an older cousin of my father, who had died of T.B. 4 months after discharge – having been sent home to die. He had been first recorded ill in the February but had “been kept on duty until the September”, getting increasingly more ill. Well done for commemorating all these lads.

    Reply
    1. 8055bell Post author

      Hi Heather,
      In From the Cold Project reviewed the records for Douglas Crick. I share your thoughts that he deserves recognition, but accept CWGC need to be consistent. Still frustrating though.
      Have you covered any Manchester Regiment men in your research?
      Tim

      Reply
      1. Heather Johnson

        Tim … Reviewed but are you saying rejected? I feel you have more evidence for Douglas Crick than I had for my relative and my relative WAS brought in from the cold. Oh well 😦 No, not researched another Manchester Regiment man. When I come to add Douglas in my chapter, I will write a little on him but will give a link to you.

      2. 8055bell Post author

        Sadly rejected. I’ve had one success with a new commemoration and another is in hand. Great to rectify the omissions.
        Tim

  24. Prestwich Sloopy

    Here’s my 1st 17thBn Record related to Prestwich.
    L/Corporal Blakeley, Fred : Son of Mr. J. R. and Mrs. S. A. Blakeley, of 20, Arthur St., Prestwich, Manchester. grandson of Robert and Betsy Blakeley, was awarded the Military Medal and was killed in action at Wancourt, France, on April 23rd 1917 in his 23rd year. ‘He has fought a good fight’ Memorial in St Mary’s Prestwich: https://photos.app.goo.gl/8kVokDWaEFihyRkTA

    Reply
      1. 8055bell Post author

        I’m happy to copy content and show the source. My computed will not let me access the site – phishing… FMP doesn’t show the Evening Chroic;le article either.Good to know he received the MM for action at Guillemont.
        I found an article on Fred Wallwork DCM- with photo- in my search though.
        Thanks

    1. 8055bell Post author

      This is a great personal account of the Montauban Battle and aftermath. I will add it to the sections of https://17thmanchesters.wordpress.com/the-big-push/ The letter helps with ocntext, although some of the timings are a bit inconsistent. I’m very surprised the letter passed through censorship, particulalry the sections about piles of bodies.
      My site is somewhat out of control. I am building casualty list for each period and adding details as I go. See https://17thmanchesters.wordpress.com/afterwards/arras-hindenburg-line-heninel-23rd-april-1917/the-cost-january-to-april-1917/

      Reply
      1. David Brown

        Hi Tim, I drove the route from roughly the start point, up the farm road through the village to triangle point. Then back to the memorial.
        I’ve tried to paste a photo, but it’s not worked.

        I try to call by when I’m heading north, time permitting. My wife was amazed at what was achieved that day.

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