Tag Archives: ernest arthur trower

Remembering Ernest Arthur TROWER (1895-1917)

11 Nov

Sunday July 24 [1927] Today was unveiled the Menin Memorial Gate at Ypres. ‘To those whose graves are unknown’ Unknown or rather graveless, those blown to fragments during these ghastly years as you my brother was. How well I remember your last words to me when I saw you for the last time. And how did you die? how can I ever know. Were you mercifully killed or were you wounded & died slowly. Died slowly in a strange country amongst strange people & knowing all the time that you would never see your loved ones again. Oh my poor brother what an ending to your life, hard for you, hard for us what hardship of mind & body must you not have endured in France & no doubt you often thought of the time when these years of anguish would end & that you could return to us again.

I recall again in memory all the days of our childhood, when we were boys & companions together. The only real companion I have had in my lonely life we had no secrets from each other. How straightforward & courageous you were too my dear Ern.

But never, never again can you & I meet. In memory only can I see you. Our days of boy-hood are long past now and you, my boy-hoods companion are dust in Flanders whilst I have gone much further in my journey & these days seem long, long ago now, but whilst life is in my body I can never forget you, even if I may have found someone who may be a dearer companion than ever you were.

These worlds were written by my 2x great-uncle Percy Ebenezer TROWER about his older brother Ernest Arthur TROWER who lost his life during the First World War. Whilst I have no memories of Ernest, only facts and pictures, I feel privileged to be able to honour the life and sacrifice of Ernest this Remembrance Day.

Copyright © 2011 John Gasson.
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Weekly Genealogy Preview (for week 47)

15 Nov

I didn’t touch my stuff to sort folder last week, largely due to spending most of my time updating my 4x great-grandparents, and getting sidetracked into looking at William HOLMAN and his large family.

  • This week I will definitely get the George Thomas GASSON stuff in the stuff to sort folder organised.
  • I think I will carry on working through my 4x great-grandparents filling in as many gaps as possible.
  • I need to prepare a plan for a visit to the London Family History Centre. This will probably be my last chance to find any missing details before I have to get my family tree printed.
  • The work I did on Ernest Arthur TROWER has made me want to find out more, I know there is not a lot more to be found out, but it would nice to try and find some more.

Remembrance: Ernest Arthur TROWER (part four)

11 Nov

Ernest Arthur TROWER (small)This handsome looking young man is my 2x great-uncle Ernest Arthur TROWER. He was the son of Ebenezer and Annie TROWER, who was born in Sayers Common, Sussex in 1895. He was baptised in the parish church at Sayers Common on the 13th October 1895. His life was tragically cut short when he was killed in action in France on the 23rd September 1917, aged 22 years old.

To my knowledge there are three memorials that record the name of Ernest Arthur TROWER and the sacrifice he made. Two of these I have not seen in person and one I have visited and photographed several times.

The first and most obvious is the memorial that I have already mentioned at Tyne Cot Cemetery in Belgium. Maintained by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, Ernest is listed among the thousands of men with no known grave. It is my goal to visit Tyne Cot in the next couple of years and pay my respects, maybe even next year.

Secondly there is the war memorial inside Sayers Common parish church. I have not yet seen the memorial, but according to the Roll of Honour website it is a wooden plaque inside the church with the names of six men who died in the First World War and seven who died in the Second World War.

Interestingly of the six men who died in the First World War who are commemorated there, I have connections to at least two of them, and probably a third. As well as Ernest there is also William James GASSON another 2x great uncle, and Albert Edward SEYMOUR would probably have been the brother-in-law of my 2x great aunt Edith Ellen TROWER had he still been alive in 1923 when Edith married.

The third memorial is also in Sayers Common, Ernest is remembered on the gravestone of his sister Mabel Annie TROWER, who is buried in Sayers Common churchyard. I have previously featured this photo as a Tombstone Tuesday post.

The gravestone of Mabel Annie TROWER and Ernest Arthur TROWER

The gravestone of Mabel Annie TROWER and Ernest Arthur TROWER

There is of course a fourth place where he is remembered, and that is in my family history. So long as my research survives the memory of Ernest Arthur TROWER and his sacrifice will also survive. Hopefully now that these four posts are out on the internet the life of Ernest will never be forgotten.

See Also:

Remembrance: Ernest Arthur TROWER (part three)

10 Nov

Ernest Arthur TROWER (small)This handsome looking young man is my 2x great-uncle Ernest Arthur TROWER. He was the son of Ebenezer and Annie TROWER, who was born in Sayers Common, Sussex in 1895. He was baptised in the parish church at Sayers Common on the 13th October 1895. His life was tragically cut short when he was killed in action in France on the 23rd September 1917, aged 22 years old.

With such a shortage of official information on the military service of Ernest I had to seek the smallest of clues wherever I could find them, including any surviving family documents. Fortunately there were two items which provided further information, which may seem quite trivial, but anything might help in the search to learn more.

The first is the picture at the top left of this post. The front of the photo gives us some collaborating evidence about his regiment, the badge of his left shoulder (you won’t be able to make it out even if you click on the photo to enlarge it, you’ll just have to take my word for it) reads CYCLIST. In this case however the back of the photo is more helpful. Although the photo was actually printed with a postcard back, it was obviously never used as such.

Ernest Arthur TROWER (reverse)

I suspect the handwriting is that of Ernest’s brother Percy, and the information contained matches with what is already known from other records, with the exception of one piece which doesn’t appear to be recorded elsewhere. The item in question is the fact that Ernest was in ‘C’ Company. This may seem trivial, but from reading the battalion war diary it is clear that the different companies were engaged in different activities on the 23rd September 1917 when Ernest was killed.

Another possible avenue of research comes from the details on the left hand edge of the card. It may be worth trying to find out if any records survive from the photographer, W. Dennis Moss of Cirencester, possibly (but very unlikely) some of his records may have survived and by checking the number 2492 I might be able to find out when Ernest was in Cirencester getting his photo taken.

The second piece of evidence is another postcard, this was sent by Ernest to his sister Mabel. Given that the subject of the card is a view of the village of Chiseldon, and although the postmark is not complete it was probably sent from Chiseldon Camp in Wiltshire. Fortunately the date on the postmark is clearer, 22nd October 1916. Given that the Army Cyclist Corps trained at Chiseldon Camp, it seems quite likely that Ernest was still in training on the 22nd October 1916.

Chiseldon (back)

The message itself reads: Dearest Mabel. Thanks for letter, sorry you could not get home I had a grand time, excuse p. card but have got behind with letter writing, so will write when I get time, they are very well at home. Edie got off all the time I was home with love. From Ernest. Edie was another sister, and home was presumably the family home at Sayers Common, Sussex.

So I have a couple of other clues, not much to go on, but at least I know that Ernest was still in England on the 22nd October 1916, and this may help identify when he actually joined the Durham Light Infantry over in France or Belgium.

See Also:

Remembrance: Ernest Arthur TROWER (part two)

9 Nov

Ernest Arthur TROWER (small)This handsome looking young man is my 2x great-uncle Ernest Arthur TROWER. He was the son of Ebenezer and Annie TROWER, who was born in Sayers Common, Sussex in 1895. He was baptised in the parish church at Sayers Common on the 13th October 1895. His life was tragically cut short when he was killed in action in France on the 23rd September 1917, aged 22 years old.

I have been able to find out precious little about Ernest’s military service. A couple of years before the British Army service records started to appear on Ancestry.co.uk I had already been up to the National Archives at Kew and searched the microfilms for Ernest, but had found nothing.

At the National Archives I was able to get a copy of his medal index card, which would later also turn up on Ancestry.co.uk, but that told me nothing more than I already knew from the inscription on the edge of his medals.

What little information I have comes from two sources, the Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) Debt of Honour Register, and Soldiers Died in the Great War which at that time was only available online at Military-Genealogy.com but now it is also available on Ancestry.co.uk and findmypast.com.

These two sources confirmed that this man was my 2x great-uncle, but only gave me a few other details about his military service. He was a member of the 12th Battalion of the Durham Light Infantry upon his death, but he had previously been in the Army Cyclist Corps (with the regimental number of 10572). He had enlisted at Hove, Sussex and had given Sayers Common, Sussex as his residence, so he was probably still living at home with his parents.

It confirmed that the date he died was the 23rd September 1917, and the place was “France and Flanders”. The CWGC site also told me he was commemorated on the Tyne Cot Memorial to the Missing, at Tyne Cot Cemetery near the town of Ypres in Belgium. Ernest is one of the thousands of men who have no known grave.

At the National Archives I was able to consult the war diaries of 12th Battalion Durham Light Infantry (WO 95/2182), and have since download a copy via their DocumentsOnline service. This sadly tells me very little about what happened on the 23rd September 1917. Between the 20th and 24th September the battalion was involved in an attack but the report of this attack fails to make any mention of the number of casualties.

It seems unlikely that I will ever find out what happened to Ernest, the best I can hope for is to learn more about the actions of the 12th Battalion from other sources and learn what took place, but I will be very lucky to find out anything on an individual level that is going to help me learn more about Ernest’s service.

See Also:

Remembrance: Ernest Arthur TROWER (part one)

8 Nov

Ernest Arthur TROWER (small)This handsome looking young man is my 2x great-uncle Ernest Arthur TROWER. He was the son of Ebenezer and Annie TROWER, who was born in Sayers Common, Sussex in 1895. He was baptised in the parish church at Sayers Common on the 13th October 1895. His life was tragically cut short when he was killed in action in France on the 23rd September 1917, aged 22 years old.

I first became aware of Ernest Arthur TROWER many years before my interest in family history began. Before family history and local history one of my interests was military history and militaria. My father encouraged this interest by giving me various items, some with family connections and some without.

One of these items was a memorial plaque for Ernest Arthur TROWER. Whilst I knew the significance of the memorial plaque I had very little concept of family history beyond first cousins, aunts and uncles, and grandparents. So I didn’t actually know who Ernest was and how he was related to me.

E A TROWER memorial plaque

As well as the memorial plaque I was also given the medals which Ernest had been awarded. These gave me the first clues to Ernest’s military service, inscribed on the edge of each medal is 52700 PTE. E. A. TROWER. DURH. L. I.

E A TROWER medals

I knew that the information was his service number, rank, name and regiment, but this was in the days before widespread internet access, in fact probably even before I had ever seen a computer in real life. I had no idea where I could find out more about Ernest, no idea of the existence of medal index cards, service records or any of the records and publications that I take for granted these days.

I knew DURH. L. I. was the Durham Light Infantry, which is probably why there is a Durham Light Infantry cap badge in my collection. The medals are not in brilliant condition, they have obviously been kept on display as the colour of the ribbons has faded quite a bit. I would imagine that they once formed part of display or shrine in memory of Ernest Arthur TROWER.

See Also:

Tombstone Tuesday: Mabel Annie and Ernest Arthur TROWER

28 Apr

Mabel Annie and Ernest Arthur TROWER were brother and sister, my 2x great aunt and uncle. The gravestone tells a sad story of two young people whose lives were cut short. Ernest’s body was never found and he is remembered here at Sayers Common, Sussex and also in Tyne Cot Cemetery, Belgium.

The gravestone of Mabel Annie TROWER and Ernest Arthur TROWER

The gravestone of Mabel Annie TROWER and Ernest Arthur TROWER

The inscription reads:

IN
LOVING MEMORY OF
MABEL ANNIE TROWER
WHO FELL ASLEEP APRIL 11TH 1928
AGED 35 YEARS
ALSO OF
ERNEST ARTHUR TROWER
KILLED IN ACTION AT YPRES
SEP 23RD 1917, AGED 22 YEARS

THE RIGHTEOUS LIVETH FOR EVERMORE

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