Sunday, 6 January 2013

R C Rowett

Richard Cardell Rowett
Born 1900 in Portugal  Killed in Action 23 August 1918
Pte 85297 1/4 Battalion Royal Fusiliers (City of London Regiment) (Previous DCLI)
Buried Bucquoy Road Cemetery, Ficheux

Richard was the son of Charles Rowett and Florence Annie Pengilly.  Charles and Florence married at Redruth in 1893.  Charles was a mine engineer whose work took him abroad to Portugal and South America.  Several of the couple's children, including Richard, were born in Portugal.  Florence must have made friends in Portugal as she continued to travel back to the country after her husband's death.  The Rowetts had seven children, five of whom survived infancy:

Florence Kathleen (1895 - 1964)  Florence was left in Cornwall with her maternal grandparents in 1901 while the rest of the family were in Portugal.  Her grandfather Charles Pengilly was an arsenic manufacturer and preacher. 
Charles Edward (1899 - ?)
Richard Cardell
John Ernest (1901- 1972)
James Stanley (1903 - ?)

The three youngest boys were all born in Portugal.  In 1911 Florence and the five children were living in Scorrier.  Charles shows up on immigration records as arriving back in the UK from South America in late 1914.  He died soon after, aged 44, on 1 March 1915 . His probate records give his address as 1, Colchester Villas, Newquay and his occupation as mine engineer.  Florence was left £200.  She later moved to 43 St John's Road.

Richard joined the DCLI at Truro.  He was posted to the 1/4th (City of London) Battalion (Royal Fusiliers). The 1/4th were part of 56th (London) Division and Richard would have joined them at the Third Battle of Albert between 21 and 23 August 1918 (a phase of the Second Battles of the Somme).  The 1st DCLI were also at the Battle and the Regiment history notes that Friday, 23 August was an exceedingly hot day.  It was also exactly four years since the British first met the Germans at the Battle of Mons. 

The British offensives in the summer of 1918 marked the beginning of the end for the Germans.  Sadly, there were still many casualties, including Richard, in the final months of the war.  Richard is buried at the Bucquoy Road Cemetery.

Monument to the Royal Fusiliers in WW1 at Holborn in London
Wikimedia - Public Domain

Saturday, 5 January 2013

W J Oxman

William James Oxman
Born c 1891 in Newquay  Died of Wounds 16 October 1917
Pte 14185 5th Battalion Dorsetshire Regiment (Previously Devonshire Regiment)
Buried in Mendinghem Military Cemetery, Belgium

William James, who was sometimes known as James, was the son of William and Lavinia Glanville.  The elder William was a coachman, then became a fish hawker, whilst Lavinia was a charwoman. Lavinia (or Levinia) was the illegitimate daughter of Jane Glanville, a field labourer and washerwoman, who had a great number of children born out of wedlock.  Jane and several of her children spent some time in the workhouse at St Columb Major.  

William and Lavinia were married in 1875 and had the following children:

  • Thomas Henry (1878 - 1880)
  • Thomas Henry (1880 - 1959)
  • Lavinia "Janie" (1882 - ?)
  • Clarice Adelaide (1884 - ?) Worked cleaning train carriages during the war
  • (Agnes) Maud (1887 - 1960)
  • William James 
In 1911, young William had a job as a grocery storeman.  He was living at home with his parents, which was at 1 Norman Court.  The family had a lodger; Frederick Wills, a carriage cleaner with the GWR.  Perhaps Clarice Oxman got his job when he went away to war (Frederick married in 1913, went to war with the the Royal Engineers Railway Operating Division and died in 1955.  Clarice's employment as a carriage cleaner shows up in the GWR records).

William joined up in Launceston and was assigned to the Devonshire Regiment, although I don't know which Battalion.  At some point he was posted to the 5th Dorsets.  In October 1917 the Dorsets, with 11th Division, were involved in the 3rd Battle of Ypres, or Passchendaele.  It seems likely that it was during one of the battles, perhaps at Poelcapelle, that William was fatally wounded.  

There was a Casualty Clearing Station at Proven and the Mendinghem Military Cemetery is now on the site. William is buried in the cemetery along with 2441 other soldiers, 51 of whom are German.

Back in Newquay, William's mother died in late 1918; his father disappears from the records.