Friday, 26 July 2013

Joseph James Sweet

Joseph James Sweet
Born 1894 in St Columb, Cornwall.  Died 29 October 1918 51st Stationery Hospital, Italy
Driver T/3/028659 Army Service Corps, No. 2 Aux. Pack Train

Joseph was born towards the end of 1894.  His parents were Samuel Sweet and Mary Grace Morris. The couple had married in 1891.  Samuel was the son of St Allen Parish Clerk, Henry Sweet.  

Samuel and Mary had three children:

William Henry (1892 - 1961?)
Joseph James (1894 - 1918)
Dorothy (1899 - ? )

Mary Sweet died in 1900, aged about 28.  Samuel had help in bringing up his children from his sisters Bessie and Clara.

In 1904 Samuel married Mary Annie Williams.  The couple had a daughter, Hilda Esther, around 1905.

Samuel died on 13 April 1907 leaving his widow with £190 17s 6d.  After their father's death, William and Dorothy seem to have moved to live with their aunt Bessie at Carn Brea.  William worked with her husband in the tin mines.  Joseph stayed with his step-mother and step-sister on the farm; his uncle William Sweet was also living there.  Like his father, Joseph became a horse trainer.

On 26 October 1914, 20 year old Joseph (who may well have been known as James) married 18 year old Millicent Benson Trethewey from Fern Pit, East Pentire in Newquay.  The couple set up in lodgings with a Mrs Leary on St John's Road in Newquay. They didn't have long to enjoy married life; Joseph joined up on 13 November 1914.  The couple had apparently been courting for a while; their daughter Dorothy was born on 23 March 1915.

Joseph was sent to the Army Service Corps, not surprisingly as a driver.  His skill as a horse trainer would have been invaluable in driving a team of horses.  Joseph's medical records show that he was a small man, just short of 5'6", weighing 126 lbs.  His health was described as good.

On 3 August 1915 Joseph left Southampton, arriving at Le Havre the following day.  He was appointed an acting Lance Corporal on 3 October 1915.  He had a week's leave in March 1916 and received a Good Conduct badge later in the same year.  In July 1917 Joseph received some cuts to his arms and face whilst attending to his horses which his commanding officer recorded was not Joseph's fault.  

Joseph was taken to the 39 Casualty Clearing Station on 19 October 1918 complaining of a headache and pain.  It was noted that he his tongue looked "dirty".  He was transferred to the 51st Stationery Hospital on 21 October.  He had chest pain, a cough and looked debilitated.  The doctor noted that he was "very ill".  On 24 October he had a temperature of over 100, which dropped back slightly the next day.  However, it remained high for several days, his pulse becoming rapid and feeble.  He was given four hourly doses of brandy and also oxygen.  It was in vain; Joseph died at 5.30am on 29 October 1918, a victim of influenza.

Millicent seems to have married again a year after Joseph's death, and again in 1946 after her second husband's death in 1944.  Her second marriage produced three sons.  She died in 1985.  Her daughter with Joseph, Dorothy, doesn't seem to have married and died in the same year as her mother.

R G Rawle

Reginald Garland Rawle
Born 1896 in Newquay, Cornwall, Killed in Action 23 November 1917 at Cambrai
Lance Corporal 202010 7th Battalion DCLI
Commemorated at Cambrai Memorial, Louverval, France

Reginald was the eldest son of Lewis Garland Rawle and Mary Brenton Trembath.  The couple had married on 23 December 1893.  Lewis was a carpenter living in Newquay, Mary was a spinster living at Shop.  Both were 23 years old.  

By 1901 the Rawles were living at 8 Belmont Place.  A few doors away lived John Jacka, another carpenter, whose son Sydney was the same age as Reginald.  Both boys would lose their lives during the Great War.

The couple had seven children:

Reginald Garland
Florence Mabel  (17 Jan 1897 - 1979)
Gwendoline Violet  (1899 - 1935)
Robert Garland  (1901 - 1953)
Lewis Edgar  (7 Feb1902 - 1971)
Edna Mary  (15 Sept 1907 - 1972)
Dorothy May  (5 Dec 1908 - 1985)

In 1911, the Census recorded that Reginald was working as a Golf Caddy.  His sister Florence was a shop girl.

I can't find when Reginald joined the Cornwalls.  However, by 1917 he was with them in the front line at Cambrai.  The Battle of Cambrai was a British offensive, designed to surprise the enemy.  The 7th Cornwalls  relieved the 13th Green Howards in the front line trenches on 4 October 1917.  They were relieved on 16 October and then moved back to Bray a week or so later, possibly for training with the tanks which were to be used in the upcoming offensive.  On 18 November, the Battalion was again in the front line and endured a few days of heavy rain awaiting the onset of the Battle of Cambrai.

The Battle of Cambrai was a British offensive, which began at dawn on 20 November.  The Cornwalls would have left the trenches behind the wire-cutting tanks and alongside the fighting tanks.  A and B companies were successful in capturing their objectives, but C and D companies were hindered by problems with the tanks.  Despite this, the Cornwalls managed to capture around 150 Germans and kill another 50.  Their own losses were 61 wounded, 10 killed and 8 missing.  Following the first day of battle, the Cornwalls were dispersed in support.

By the 23 November, the weather was fine.  There was shell-fire from the Germans, but apparently no one was hit.  However, a barn in which some of the men were occupying was hit by three shells causing an evacuation.  There is no mention of anyone being killed, but perhaps this was where Reginald died.