Writing about the Ordinary Soldier

The following extracts are pieces about relatives who fought or fell in World War One. The particular emphasis is on the rank and file soldiers of whichever army they fought for. What is especially important is information about those relatives that helps to give a wider understanding about their lives and personalities.

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Thomas E Cotter

My grandfather enlisted in Manhattan in 1917 in the 59th Artillery, Coast Artillery Corps, American Expeditionary Force. By that time, the horrors of the Great War must have been evident, though how much is clear to a 19 year old is difficult to know. He sailed from NY aboard the Olympic in March 1918 and […]

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Eric Ralph Zealley

Eric Ralph Zealley, known as Ralph, was born in 1897. Parents, Andrew and Adela Zealley, of Coly Bank, Colyton, Devon. He was a native of Wadeford, Chard, Somerset and joined first the King’s Own (Royal Lancaster Regiment) and then the RAF. Extract from Reminiscences of John Blofield  (his cousin) Eric Ralph was the only son […]

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Frederick C (Fred) Harris

He served as a RAMC orderly during WW1 but accidentally blinded himself, by chemical contamination, when he rubbed his eyes shortly after helping with an operation. He trained at St Dunstan’s Hospital; initially as a physiotherapist but later as a basket weaver. In 1922, at Reigate, he married Daisy F. Birch who was a secretary […]

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Francis Robert Cook

Born 1896 (birth registered q/e Dec 1896, Howden) Parents: Francis William Cook and Emily Cook nee Martin Died: 10/10/1916 – killed in action in Flanders Army records state: birthplace = Gillingham, Yorks residence when enlisted = Acomb, Yorks Was in the Kings Royal Rifle Corps – 21st Battalion Action in France and Flanders Enlisted at […]

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Francis Henry (Frank) Harris

Born:   1884 Charlton Kings, Gloucestershire. Died:    1945 Wakefield, Yorkshire. Occupation:   Worked as a cycle and motor repairer for Stretton’s Garage in Cheltenham. Moved to Wakefield and in 1907 set up what was to become the family business “Frank Harris: Tyre Specialists” of Ings Road, Wakefield. WW1:   Francis Henry Harris served (from 14 Aug 1914 onwards) on the Western […]

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Your Account of a Soldier who Fought or Fell

Did he write anything about his experiences?

Do you have any photographs of him?

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Positions - 1st Battle of Ypres

Menin Gate Memorial

The curved ceiling of the Menin Gate Memorial with the rebuilt town in the distance.

Pte A. Stringer’s grave in Perth Cemetery (China Wall)

Menin Gate Panel 11

A detail of Panel 11 of the Memorial with Joe’s friend Fellowes among those without a grave.

Army map of 1st Ypres October, 1914

Army map of 1st Ypres 29th October, 1914 – source, copy in the 'In Flanders Fields Museum', with permission. Where Joseph Garvey was captured is circled.

The Scots Guards Listed on Panel 11 on the Menin Gate

The Scots Guards are listed on Panel 11 on the Menin Gate. Just some of the 58,000 fallen who could not be identified.