Nov 02

What we know of the Great War wounded during 1915

The army made every effort to care for its wounded soldiers to make them fit again as soon as possible. Most of the OTs wounded in 1915 returned to active service, like Leslie Sprenger in Egypt, some of them only to be wounded again, like his brother Ben Sprenger and George Lynton Edsell. Others, like William Roberts (mentioned on the previous panel) died of their wounds before they could be saved. Not all could be returned to active service. Ferdinand Raillon had to be invalided out of the front line. For some, like E B Rayner, it was the psychological rather than physical effects of his gunshot wounds that rendered them unfit for further service.

The wounded were brought to a Regimental Field Aid Post close to the front line by stretcher bearers where the Medical Officer, (MO) was in charge and minor injuries were treated. The more seriously wounded were stretchered back to a mobile Advanced Dressing Station or a Main Dressing Station, both liable to come under fire. These were manned by Field Ambulance units, which were mobile hospitals.

From the Dressing Stations the wounded were taken to Casualty Clearing Stations. These had reasonable hospital facilities and were staffed by RAMC doctors and nurses. From there the very seriously wounded were transported to Base Hospitals, well away from the front line in France, Belgium and, for example, Alexandria in Egypt where Henry Claude Bernard was treated. The very worst cases, such as Donald Patrick Shaw, were shipped back to British hospitals and convalescent homes.

It is commonly believed that it was machine gun fire that was the chief cause of death and wounds. In fact, the effects of bombardment by heavy artillery were just as devastating or even more so. Richard Hall and Francis W Fielding were victims of shrapnel wounds.

Many of the OTs wounded in 1915 were serving on the Western Front, like Raymond Hester and Cyril Walter Tomlinson, in addition to those mentioned above, but some received their wounds in other campaigns. In addition to the two Sprenger brothers serving in the Eastern Mediterranean, H E Allsebrook received wounds in Mesopotamia and Henry Shrimpton in Gallipoli.

Leslie Francis & Herbert Arthur (Ben) Sprenger

The two brothers were born on 13th November 1892 and 31st August 1894, to a military family in Kaffraria, Cape Colony (South Africa) where their father had the rank of Major. He died while the boys were young and his widow Mary Ellen moved to Liverpool. Both boys arrived at LWGS as boarders in September 1906, leaving in 1910 from form VI, and in 1911 from form IV respectively. On leaving school, Leslie attended the military training school at Sandhurst as a ‘gentleman cadet’. He served in the Wit South Africa Rifles, where he trained as a sniper, later transferring to the Transvaal Light Infantry with the rank of Captain. During WW1 he served first in Egypt, where he was wounded in 1915, and then in France where he was again wounded in the following year. After leaving school Ben returned to South Africa to undertake a career in gold mining. On the outbreak of war he enlisted in the Transvaal Scottish Regiment as a 2nd Lieut., serving first in South West Africa and later in Egypt where he was wounded.

George Lynton Edsell, and family

George Lynton, known by his second name, born in April and baptised in July 1888, was the eldest of three brothers all of whom, along with their father, served in WW1. The sons survived, but their father George, Lt Col RAMC, died of pleurisy in August 1915 while on active service in France. The Edsell family, direct descendants of Captain Cook, lived in Redholme (now Brewer’s House), Thame High Street. George senior was a doctor in partnership with Dr Lee from the time of his marriage in 1887 until 1908 when the family moved to Surbiton. All three sons were at LWGS in the early years of the century. George followed a military career, already in 1911 serving in the 1st battalion, Hampshire Regiment, promoted to Capt. By 1914. As a regular, he was part of the British Expeditionary Force, took part in most of the early engagements on the Western Front in 1914/5 and was twice wounded.

His two younger brothers, Arthur Reginald Kepp and Eric Valentine, both enlisted in the 6th battalion, East Surrey Regiment. Eric was posted to India early in the war and served in a machine gun battery in the Peshaware/Khyber Pass area. Arthur did not serve abroad, in France, until October 1917.

Ferdinand Raillon

As his name suggests, Ferdinand was French. He was born in Paris on 24th June 1893. His father was an architect from Annecy, who frequently moved around so Ferdinand attended a number of schools: Annecy Lycée, and Ashford Grammar School before arriving at LWGS in September 1910 at the age of 17 and placed in form V staying until summer 1911. At school he was a good long distance runner. After leaving school he worked ‘on business’ in France. Little is known of his war record except that he was invalided out of the front line but continued to serve as a ‘Caporal Ordinaire at Drôme attached to a rest hospital.

From French records

Né le 24.6.1893 à Paris 18e, déclaré le 26.6 chez ses père et mère.

Fils de Jacques Joseph Fleury RAILLON  et de Angélique Marie ARTUS

Reconnu et légitimé le 30.4.1898 lors du mariage de ses parents à Vincennes. Marié le 14.4.1923 à Annecy avec Charlette Germaine GARDET 2 enfants. Décédé le 29.9.1972 à Annecy

Cheveux: châtains  Yeux : marron Visage : ovale. 1 m 82

Conseil de révision à Annecy-Nord n°143. Classé 3e partie dans la liste en 1913

Engagé volontaire, 3 ans,   le 18.3.1913 pour le 30e Régt Infanterie (RI), arrivé au corps, soldat 2e classe le 19.3.1913. N° matricule 4178 Caporal le 9.11.1913

Réformé n°2 par Commission spéciale de Réforme d’Annecy le 8.8.1914 pour pleurésie purulante droite

-Classé service auxiliaire par commission le 6.5.1915

-Incorporé au 159e RI arrivé au corps et soldat 2e classe le 10.9.1915

N° matricule 11811

-Passé au 20e Escadron du Train le 9.2.1917

-Démobilisé le 26.8.1919   8e Échelon n° 1134  14e Escadron du Train

-Se retire à Annecy, Rue Éloi Serrand

Certificat de Bonne Conduite

Médaille commémorative de la Grande Guerre

Médaille Interalliée dite de la Victoire

Campagnes contre l’Allemagne : Intérieur 2.8.1914. CS 8.8.1914

Intérieur 10.9.1915 CS 25.8.1919


Entré à l’hôpital dépôt de convalescents n° 28 à Valence (Drôme), le 31.3.1916 pour parathyphoïde

Entré à l’hôpital de campagne n° 37 à Villeurbanne (Rhône) le 28.12.1918 pour grippe ; venait du fort de Genas. Sorti le 8.1.1919, convalescence :1 mois ,prolongée 1 mois, du 11.2.1919 au 11.3.1919

Ces informations viennent de l’acte de naissance et de la fiche matricule.

E B Rayner

He first served in the 1st Battalion Public School Corps, Royal Fusiliers, He was promoted to 2nd lieut. in the 6th Battalion, East Kent Regiment (The Buffs) early in 1915. He wounded by gunshot and suffered a nervous breakdown.

Henry Claude Bernard

He was born in 1893, son of Dr Claude and Florrie Bernard who lived at 1 Spencer Terrace, Fishponds, Bristol, and nephew of W G Grace. He was head boy at LWGS in 1912 studied mathematics at St John’s College, Cambridge, where he was in the Officer Training Corps. Following the outbreak of war, he was appointed to a Temporary Regular Commission as a 2nd Lieutenant in the General List and was posted for duty with 7th (Service) Battalion Gloucestershire Regiment. He fought in the disastrous Gallipoli campaign where he was wounded by shrapnel and subsequently hospitalized in Alexandria. He returned to the front line attached to the 3rd Battalion Worcestershire regiment and was killed on 3rd September 1916 aged 22 during the battle of the Somme.

Donald Patrick Shaw

Born 29th August 1888 at Melcombe Regis, he was the eldest son of headmaster Dr A E Shaw. He had a busy and successful school career, passing a whole range of Oxford Local and Royal Society of Arts Commercial examinations. He was joint editor (with his father) of the Tamensian, captained the cricket team in 1906 and was head boy for his last two years. He went to Balliol College Oxford, where he excelled at rowing, the Balliol eight reaching the finals for two successive years at Henley Regatta. He gained a history degree, and on leaving university taught first at his father’s previous school at Weymouth and then at the prestigious Westminster School, from where his younger brother had gained a top scholarship in mathematics to Cambridge. In 1914 he enlisted in the Dorsetshire Regiment. He was seriously wounded in the neck in 1915 while serving in France and nearly drowned when the hospital ship Anglia was mined off Dover in the Channel. After convalescing he returned to France, was promoted to Major and was awarded the DSO in 1918 for gallantry in the attack across the river Ancre.

Richard Hall

He was born in 1893, the son of Eliza Lucy and William L A Hall, a farrier and veterinary surgeon, of 19 Paradise Street Oxford. Richard attended Bedford House (private) School in Oxford but probably as a result of his father’s premature death at the age of 42 in the winter of 1907, Richard was moved to LWGS for eight terms as a boarder. On leaving school in 1910 he became a Bank Clerk living in a boarding house in Dulwich. He enlisted in 1914 in the Queen’s Own Oxfordshire Hussars with the rank of Corporal and was wounded by shrapnel in 1915.

H E Allsebrook

He lived in Warwickshire. He attended LWGS as a boarder from September 1901 to April 1906. He was quite successful academically and on the sports field, gaining the Oxfordshire Local Examinations junior honours prize and playing in the 1904 football team where “in spite of his size [he] has proved himself by smart dribbling”. In 1906 he passed the Cambridge Local Senior exam. After leaving school he studied banking and in 1909 gained a prize for passing the Lloyds banking examination with distinction. He enlisted in the 12th Battalion of the Royal Warwickshire Regiment as 2nd Lieut, later promoted to Lieut, serving in the Mediterranean, Persia and possibly India. He was wounded in November 1914, and again seriously in Mesopotamia in April 1915 leading to his hospitalisation in London. Later he transferred to the RAF.

Raymond Walter Hester

He was born on 4th July 1897 son of Charles Edward, a watchmaker living at 111 High St Thame. Raymond attended the British School Thame before entering LWGS in September 1909. He left in July 1913 to become a goldsmith’s assistant in London. He enlisted as a Private in the London Irish Regiment and kept a war diary. He was wounded in 1915 and returned to UK.

Francis Willoughby Fielding

He was born in the autumn of 1892, the younger son of Latitia and Harry Fielding, who lived in Towersey near the White Hart pub and worked as an auctioneer in Thame for Bond and Burrows. Francis was a day boy, leaving LWGS in the summer of 1907 at the age of 14 and started a career in the motor trade. In 1911 he was boarding in Coventry and working as a motor draughtsman. He enlisted in the Queen’s Own Oxfordshire Hussars and served in France as a despatch rider. In 1914 he was was wounded by an exploding shell while carrying despatches 1914 and invalided home. He later returned to the front and transferred with a commission as 2nd Lieut to the 9th London Regiment. He died in action on 1st July 1916.

Arthur William Gill

He was born on 20th June 1893, the son of Julia and William Gill, who had the unusual job of Steward of the Oxford Union Society and lived at Frewen Court off the Cornmarket. Arthur was at LWGS between September 1902 and December 1909. On leaving school he became a farming pupil. On 28th March 1913 he emigrated in the passenger ship Lake Manitoba to Paul Lake, British Columbia, Canada as a farmer. Things may not have gone well, however, as he gave his trade as ‘none’ when he enlisted in the Canadian Over-Seas Expeditionary force on 22nd September 1914. He trained at the Valcartier military base near Quebec, which had been established in the previous month at the outbreak of the war, and joined the 15th Canadian Horse, with which he served on the Western Front. He was wounded in 1915 but subsequently returned to duty in the Canadian Ordnance.

Frederick Edward Clarke

He was the son of Josiah Clarke, a dairy proprietor living at Park Road at East Twickenham. He was a boarder at LWGS from January 1905 or earlier until February 1909, starting in Form II and leaving from Form V. He was in the school football team in the 1908-9 season. He was wounded in 1915.

F H Bush

Little is known about him. He probably entered the school earlier than 1901 and left before 1906. He was wounded in 1914. (The only Bush recorded in this era was P J Bush, who was at the school between April 1909 and July 1911.)

Cyril W Tomlinson

He was born about 1879 at Earls Court and came to LWGS around 1891 as a boarder. He married Evelyn Darbyshire on 24th January 1903 and they had a son Egerton two years later. In 1911 he was working as a chartered accountant for a foreign bank and living in Upper Richmond Road, Putney. He served in the Motor Cyclists Corps and was wounded in 1915.

Henry Leonard Shrimpton

He was born on 21st February 1889, the third son of Fanny and John Job Shrimpton, corn dealer of 30 High Street Thame. His two elder brothers, John Harvey and George Ernest, were 5 and 12 years older than him. All three attended LWGS and later served in WW1. Henry entered the school around 1900 and left before 1907. In 1911 he was working as a farm assistant at Beachendon, Aylesbury. He enlisted in the Royal Bucks Hussars successively as a Lance Corporal, Corporal and 2nd Lieut, later transferring to the Queen’s Own Royal West Kent Regiment. He was wounded during the Gallipoli campaign.

Horace Victor Burrell

He was born on 12th March 1898, son of George a hotel proprietor of Upper Tooting Road. As Horace was educated as a boarder at a commercial school in Margate, before he came to LWGS, also as a boarder in September 1913, leaving on 29th August 1915. Within a week, on August 4th, he enlisted as a driver in the Honourable Artillery Company with the rank of Gunner.

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