Tag Archives: war memorial

Climbing out of the hole

11 Oct

I wrote a couple of weeks ago that I had done practically no family history recently, well that trend has continued more or less unabated, until yesterday. I feel like I have been stuck in quite possibly the deepest rut ever, struggling to find any enthusiasm for family history and blogging, but at last I feel like I am starting to climb out of the hole.

Last night I spent some time working on an unrelated (at the moment) name on the Brighton War Memorial. As the surname is TROWER and the place is Brighton, Sussex there is a very good chance that he was distantly related, so I don’t feel that I am completely wasting my time.

It is quite an interesting challenge as there are very few details given for F TROWER, my plan is to try to identify him and work backwards until I run into someone already on my family tree. Hopefully it will only be a generation or two before I find the connection, but it is something I have meant to investigate for a long time.

Not only will this hopefully clear up a long-standing mystery, but also spark a little enthusiasm for family history and blogging again. Time however is a still a real issue, but hopefully I can nibble away at this little project, doing a little bit each day, just enough to get me back into the swing of things.

Personal Genealogy Update: Week 46

14 Nov

I didn’t achieve a great deal of what I had set out to do last week, instead I ended up spending most of my time working on the BOXALL war memorial blog posts. I did do a few bits of transcribing here and there, but it was mostly war memorial work.

I guess I wasn’t quite as well prepared for writing the posts as I had thought, and once I had started writing I realised that there was so much more that I would like to have found out if I had more time. In a way this has proved to me the value of blogging, in helping to identify what I know and what I don’t know.

I need to decide whether I am going to continue working on some or all of these BOXALLs, there are a lot more sources that I could check, for example I should go through the local newspaper for mentions of them and consult the actual medal rolls to check battalion details and look for previous battalions.

My current thinking is that it would probably be worth my while searching the local newspaper anyway, regardless of whether it is just for the BOXALLs, there are probably many other interesting stories waiting to be discovered in West Dean. Next time I am down at the West Sussex Record Office I will probably make a start on that even though it may a couple of visits.

I think I will try and find out more about the service of the two BOXALLs that are my closest relations, Leonard Arthur and Walter Henry. I will however also put the others on my list of things to do for the next time I visit The National Archives.

I still can’t get away from the idea of a One-Place Study on West Dean. I know it is foolish to even think I have the time for it, but I feel it would be beneficial for me to carry out. Probably I will just start one, but not tell anyone about it, just so I can see if I do have time for it, then I won’t feel I have let anyone down if I don’t complete it, there is nothing worse than a half-finished abandoned website.

This week I think I will and get back to some sorting out, starting with updating all the material that I have gathered during my work on the West Dean war memorial (and updating my to-do list), but it is time I had a general tidy up around my computer desk, get rid of all the newspaper photocopies that are now scanned, and generally have a bit of a sort out.

Remembrance 2010: Walter BOXALL (1897-1917)

14 Nov

This year I am remembering the six members of the BOXALL family recorded on the war memorial in the parish church at West Dean (near Chichester), Sussex.

I have previously written about Walter BOXALL (actually Walter Henry BOXALL), most recently when I was looking at the story that James and Caroline BOXALL had 27 children. I am happy that he wasn’t one of their children, but he appears to have been treated as if he was one.

I have a copy of his birth certificate which shows that his mother was Alice Ruth BOXALL although his father’s identity is not known. He was born on the 27th May 1897 at 10 Arthur Street, Caerleon, Monmouthshire, Wales. I have no idea why his mother was in Wales at the time of his birth.

He was back in West Dean in the for the 1901 census, when he was living with his grandparents, but in 1911 he his still living with his grandparents but is described as their son. He attended school at West Dean between the 14th October 1901 and the 26th May 1911 and left school to work on a farm.

With regard to his military service I know very little, really only what is included in Soldiers Died in the Great War and the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website. Walter apparantly enlisted at Chichester, Sussex (which is not surprising) and served with the 2nd Battalion Royal Sussex Regiment (regimental number: G/11744).

Interestingly this was the same battalion as Sidney Charles BOXALL (his 1st cousin once removed), but this is probably just a coincidence. He was killed in action on the 10th July 1917, but that is about the limit of my knowledge.

As well as the West Dean war memorial, Walter Henry BOXALL is remembered on the Nieuport Memorial, Belgium.

Remembrance 2010: Sidney BOXALL (1896-1918)

13 Nov

This year I am remembering the six members of the BOXALL family recorded on the war memorial in the parish church at West Dean (near Chichester), Sussex.

Sidney BOXALL’s full name was Sidney Charles BOXALL (although some records have him as Sydney Charles BOXALL) and the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website provides us with the valuable information that Sidney was the “Son of Arthur and Charlotte Boxall, of 84, The Warren, West Dean, Chichester” and he died aged 22 on the 18th April 1918.

Sidney Charles was baptised on the 5th April 1896 at St. Andrew’s Church, West Dean and was the second youngest of Arthur and Charlotte’s five children. His younger brother was Frederick Henry BOXALL who I wrote about on Wednesday. Sidney, in common with most of the BOXALLs in West Dean, worked as a farm labourer.

Although Sidney’s service record has survived it is very brief, only six pages in total, and two of those relate to the return of his personal effects to his father, so unfortunately it doesn’t give a lot of detail on his military service.

He appears to have enlisted on the 20th January 1916 at Chichester, Sussex with the 2nd Battalion Royal Sussex Regiment (regimental number: G/8597), although his medical examination took place a couple of months earlier on the 18th November 1915.

His service record provides no further details on his military service other than his entitlement to the British War Medal and Victory Medal, and the fact that he was killed in action in France on the 18th April 1918. If time permitted I could probably have checked the battalions war diary to find out exactly where they were and what they were doing at the time.

As well as West Dean war memorial Sidney Charles is also remembered at Woburn Abbey Cemetery, Cuinchy, France.

Remembrance 2010: Leonard BOXALL (1884-1916)

12 Nov

This year I am remembering the six members of the BOXALL family recorded on the war memorial in the parish church at West Dean (near Chichester), Sussex.

Leonard BOXALL is probably the best documented of all the BOXALLs on the West Dean war memorial. Not only are there entries on the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website and in Soldiers Died in the Great War but his service record has also survived (albeit in burnt condition) and is available on Ancestry.co.uk along with his medal index card.

Leonard, or rather Leonard Arthur BOXALL, is also the closest relation of the six BOXALLs on the war memorial. He was my 2x great-uncle, the son of my 2x great-grandparents James and Caroline Emily BOXALL (the parents of 27 children) and brother of my great-grandmother Lilian Mary BOXALL.

He was born in 1884 in West Dean, Sussex and baptised at St. Andrew’s Church in West Dean on the 7th September 1884. He appears to have had various jobs on the farm, and when he enlisted at Croydon, Surrey on the 8th September 1914 he gave his occupation as a farm labourer.

Leonard was only 5 foot 4 inches tall and weighed 119 lbs, had blue eyes, brown hair and a fresh complexion when he passed his medical examination. He served as a Private in the 8th (Service) Battalion The Buffs (East Kent Regiment), although he may have served briefly with the Royal Sussex Regiment. According to his medal index card he arrived in France on the 31st August 1915, which meant he was entitled to the 1914-15 Star as well as the British War Medal and Victory Medal.

I haven’t followed his battalion through their war diaries, so I don’t know the details of where they fought, but Leonard’s story comes to an end on the 28th March 1916 at No. 17 Casualty Clearing Station when he died of gun shot wounds to his chest and right leg, which he had received on the 19th March.

Within Leonard’s service record is a poignant letter written by his mother, after she had received Leonard’s personal effects:

Colworth Cottages
Nr Chichester

Dear Sir,
I have received the things that you
[have] sent of my Darling Boy L. A Boxall
[and] I return you many thanks he was
[the] best Boy a mother [ever] had he has gone
to a Higher Service I hope and may my
other dear Boys be brought back safely to me
yours respectfully
C. E. Boxall

As well as West Dean war memorial Leonard Arthur BOXALL is remembered at Lijssenthoek Military Cemetery, Belgium.


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