Category: Sharing Memories

Military Monday: "Three other Ranks were killed"

Category: Sharing Memories

There's a story which has been passed down through our family about how, on 8th September 1916, my great-grandfather, Henry James Weaver, died. During WWI, he was reportedly killed alongside two others by a bomb or hand grenade accidentally detonating in a soldier's hand while resting at the base in France after serving in the trenches.

My gran told me this a number of years ago. I've often wondered about the accurancy of the information because the details must have been second-hand; gran was orphaned before the age of 5.

Henry James Weaver's Memorial Plaque (Death Penny)</
Henry James Weaver's Memorial Plaque (Death Penny)

The family has two pieces of evidence to support the story, or at least the fact of it having been an accident. Firstly, a photograph issued by the War Office showing the original wooden cross and Henry's grave. The inscription on the cross mentions Henry was 'accidentally killed'. The second piece of evidence is a death notice in an old newspaper cutting which my gran kept for most of her life. Dated 1921, the notice is about gran's mother but it includes the following....

"...Pathos is added to this very sad case by the fact that Mrs. Weaver's husband, who was a private in the Oxford and Bucks Light Infantry during the war, was killed by a bomb at the base in France just after leaving the trenches for a brief respite..."

Of course, I wasn't sure if this was published on the basis of what the family had told the newspaper so I still needed further evidence.

A few days ago, I posted a message in the Great War Forum and another member very kindly responded. He had a copy of the war diary for the 2/1 Battalion Oxfordshire and Buckingham Light Infantry - Henry's battalion. The story bears out...

LE GRAND PACAUT

3-7
09/16

Nil.

8/09/16

At noon a Bombing accident occurred, owing to the premature explosion of a Bomb. The Battn. Q.M. - LIEUT. D WALLER and the Bombing Officer 2/Lieut. A.J. SMEE 3rd WILTS, attached 2/1 BUCKS Bn. were both wounded. Three other Ranks were killed and 4 other Ranks were wounded.

9. - 10.
/09/16

Nil.


Five words, 'Three other Ranks were killed', makes for stark reading when you consider this phrase embodies the tragic news of the death of my great-grandfather.

What heartbreak for my great-grandmother, Florence. Married less than a year, she was heavily pregnant at the time. It's believed the news arrived around the time she gave birth to my gran, ten days after Henry's death, but that she wasn't told until my gran was ten days old. Apparently Florence was becoming increasingly anxious to know why she hadn't heard from Henry. It doesn't bear thinking about! No wonder Henry's headstone reads...

IN LOVING MEMORY OF
MY DEAR HUSBAND
FROM HIS SORROWING
WIFE AND CHILD

When Florence died of meningitis, my gran was left without parents. To add insult to injury, gran passed the necessary exams to qualify for the grammar school but, because she had no father, another girl was given her place. Times were certainly tough. Such missed opportunities!

Despite various set-backs, gran was the type of woman who rolled up her sleeves and got on with it. She was full of vitality and always offered hospitality. There was certainly no side to her. Perhaps her difficult start in life was what grounded her.

I've posted before about how gran always wanted to see her father's grave, something she finally did at the age of 83.

Incidentally, the Quartermaster who was wounded was a Daniel Waller, born in Great Chishill, Cambridgeshire. He survived the war and lived until 1950, aged 82.

The two other men who were killed with Henry were Lance-Sergeant AW Mead and Private JS Litchfield. The three of them are buried beside each other in Merville Communal Cemetery Extension in Merville, France.

Henry's name appears on the War Memorial in his home town of Curry Rivel, Somerset, and also in Tavistock, Devon, Florence's home town.

[Why Military Monday? This phrase has been included in the title in order to take part in Blogging Prompts at Geneabloggers]

[Note: All content on the Hibbitt & Barnes Family History website and blog is copyrighted. Click here for conditions of use.]

Advent Calendar: Santa Keyring

Category: Sharing Memories

When our son was small we used to do the dutiful thing and take him to visit Father Christmas in one of the big stores in town. On one such occasion, they produced a photograph in a keyring which we have kept to this day (see photo below).

Santa Keyring
Our son with Santa, aged about 3 or 4 (our son that is, Santa's a bit older!)

[Why Advent Calendar? This phrase has been included in the title in order to take part in Blogging Prompts at Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories at Geneabloggers]

[Note: All content on the Hibbitt Family History website and blog is copyrighted. Click here for conditions of use.]

Advent Calendar: Outdoor Decorations

Category: Sharing Memories

Today's Advent Calendar post is about outdoor Christmas decorations. Over the last 20 years or so, these seem to have taken off in a big way but when I was growing up I wasn't conscious of outdoor decorations except for the ones you saw in the city centre.

A few years ago we lived in a cul-de-sac where the custom was to decorate the front of your home and get together for the big swtich-on. Of the 30 or so houses, only one or two didn't take part. I have to confess, our offering was a simple string of lights over the garage to give the illusion that we weren't completely bah, humbug! Having moved again since, thankfully there's no pressure to keep the tradition up! Perhaps we really are bah, humbug, after all. lol

[Why Advent Calendar? This phrase has been included in the title in order to take part in Blogging Prompts at Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories at Geneabloggers]

[Note: All content on the Hibbitt Family History website and blog is copyrighted. Click here for conditions of use.]

Advent Calendar: Christmas Tree Ornaments

Category: Sharing Memories

Although I took 'A' Level art, I'm not much into crafts but I do remember making paper lanterns in primary school. I just decided to have a quick go to see if I could still make one and this is my feeble attempt for old times' sake.

Paper Lantern
Paper Lantern

[Why Advent Calendar? This phrase has been included in the title in order to take part in Blogging Prompts at Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories at Geneabloggers]

[Note: All content on the Hibbitt Family History website and blog is copyrighted. Click here for conditions of use.]

Advent Calendar: The Christmas Tree

Category: Sharing Memories

For many years my grandparents had an artificial Christmas tree which I don't remember in great detail. However, there was always one thing that fascinated me about it and that was the sheet of cotton wool which was placed around the base in an attempt to mimic snow. I think my gran used to decorate the tree and there was a foot-or-so high statue of Father Christmas which used to adorn their front room too.

It's always been my job to decorate the tree in our house but I have to admit that after more than 20 years, I finally got fed up and so we bought a miniature tree, complete with decorations, which I just have to whip out of the box and plonk on the hearth. Simples!

This is our original Christmas Tree
This is our orginal Christmas Tree

[Why Advent Calendar? This phrase has been included in the title in order to take part in Blogging Prompts at Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories at Geneabloggers]

[Note: All content on the Hibbitt Family History website and blog is copyrighted. Click here for conditions of use.]

Those Places Thursday: A life-long ambition fulfilled

Category: Sharing Memories

It was a bright October day in 1999 when I travelled to France, with 5 family members, including my late gran who was 83 at the time. The journey was special because we were visiting my great-grandfather’s grave where he’d been buried in 1916.

Accidentally killed during WWI, more than eighty years had passed before Henry James Weaver (1882-1916) finally had a relative visit his graveside. It had been my gran’s life-long ambition to see where her father was buried, a father she’d never known and who had died 10 days before she was born.

Henry is buried in grave I.A.10. at Merville Communal Cemetery Extension and pictures from the visit can be seen in my website gallery.


The note attached to the poppy wreath which my gran laid at the graveside


[Why Those Places Thursday? This phrase has been included in the title in order to take part in Daily Blogging Prompts at Geneabloggers]
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