Wednesday, 29 April 2015

Dedicated to his only son: Lieutenant Bernard Montague Basil Bateman MC, 24 July 1915

Trench’s Manoeuvre Orders 1914 is today a forgotten book. Its instructions on the conduct and organization of a modern army on the eve of the Great War seem antiquated a century after its first publication. But as a training manual for young officers it was much in demand in its time.  By 1915 it had gone through 11 editions.

Its author, Colonel Frederick John Arthur Trench CVO, DSO, Knight Commander of the Orders of the Royal Crown, of the Red Eagle, and of Saxe-Ernestine had had a distinguished service career, having been appointed Military Attaché at Berlin from 1906 to 1910.


In 1915 it was being edited by an army officer who was just as noted for his military service as the book’s author. Brigadier General Bernard Montague Bateman, born in 1865, had been educated at Wimbledon School before entering the Royal Military Academy, Woolwich; he was gazetted into the Royal Artillery in July 1884 and had served in the Boer War with distinction. From March 1915 he served in the Great War with the Heavy Artillery on the Western Front.

He would go on in 1916 to be created CMG and appointed Brigadier-General. In 1917 he was created an officer of the Légion d'Honneur, being three times mentioned in despatches. In December 1919 he retired from the army and settled with his wife Alice Maude, née Hinkson, in Budleigh Salterton, living at Southbrook, on West Hill. He died at a London nursing home on 15 March1937. Alice Maude Bateman died two years later in Budleigh Salterton, on 12 Oct 1939.


The trenches today: Sanctuary Wood, a few miles east of Ypres, in Belgium      ©  Mo Sandford FRPS 2014
More of Mo Sandford's remarkable photos of World War I battlefields can be seen here  The author Michael Morpurgo has described her work as "deeply moving and interesting."   

But in June 1915 he was based in Belgium, defending the Ypres Salient. So also was his only son, 24-year-old Bernard Montague Basil Bateman, a Lieutenant serving with the 133rd Battery, 21st Brigade of the Royal Field Artillery at Sanctuary Wood, near Ypres.


The award of the Military Cross had been created only a year previously, on 28 December 1914

The father would no doubt have been quick to learn the news that the younger Bernard's bravery under fire had resulted in his being awarded the Military Cross. However he was devastated to hear that the young officer had been injured. The citation made mention of the Lieutenant’s  “conspicuous gallantry” on 10 June,  when young Bernard was “dangerously wounded in endeavouring to restore telephone communication under very severe fire.” 

Sadly young Bernard did not recover from his wounds. 

His father was working on the 12th edition  of Trench’s Manoeuvre Orders 1914 when he received news of the death of Lieutenant Bateman on 24 July.

And that is why the 12th edition which appeared in 1916, published by William Clowes, is dedicated to B.M.B.B.  24.7.15

The book is available to read online here

Lieutenant Bateman’s body was brought back to Britain, where his mother Alice Maude was the informant of his death, registered in Lambeth.

His ashes are at Golders Green Crematorium in London, as are those of his father Brigadier General Bateman who would die 22 years later.    

‘The Great War at Fairlynch’ 2015 exhibition at Budleigh Salterton’s very special museum! Reviews included: “Wonderful display on WW1, informative, bright and relevant. Well done!! 


Sunday, 26 April 2015

More about Major George Carpenter MC

George Carpenter in uniform during the 1914-18 War 

‘Rainy Day’ is a much admired painting of Budleigh Salterton High Street in Fairlynch Museum’s art collection. In a previous post I revealed something of the background of the artist, George Carpenter, and his distinguished service during the Great War.


You can read about the painting here

His son now completes the picture with this biography of his father. 

Tony Carpenter writes:

George Carpenter came from a family background of Gas Engineers, his father being the Manager of Yarmouth Gas Works. He himself was initially schooled in various gas contractors’ offices before joining up in the 1914-1918 war where he later distinguished himself in the Signals
Division of the Royal Engineers at Ypres, where he was awarded the Military Cross and promoted to Major.


George Carpenter wearing the ribbon of the Military Cross. In addition to the MC he was awarded the British War Medal and the Allied Victory Medal

After the armistice  he married Violet and then took up a position in Monte-Video Gas Works but returned to the UK three years later, taking a temporary appointment as Manager at Budleigh Salterton Gas Works. Here he was greatly attracted to all the amenities that the area had to offer, and deciding to stay, raised a family of three children, Jo, Tony and Clare.

Residing in the manager’s house, actually on the gas works site, he quickly became  embroiled  in the task of making it a most efficient and profitable gas undertaking,  doing both the secretarial and engineering work himself It was a bitter pill to swallow when under Nationalisation of the Gas lndustry (1949) he had to witness and accept that the result of a lifetime’s work was to be shortly wrested from him.

Fortunately through the years he had found the time to indulge in many interests, being a man of many parts. Keen on scouting, as assistant scoutmaster he was able to use the Gas Works land for camping and cooking exercises with lads from the local troop. His interest in sport saw him in the local football team as well as playing tennis, badminton and golf up into his late sixties.

The stage also held his interest and in the late twenties he organised a Minstrel troupe, which successfully toured the neighbouring village halls. At Xmas time the local pantomime was used to raise funds for the Cottage Hospital and he was able to assist with stage props, scenery and piano accompaniment in its orchestra.


This scene of ‘The Judgment of Paris’ won the ‘Best in Procession’ award in the  Budleigh Carnival in August, 1956. Left to right are: Harold Hitt, Tony Carpenter, George Carpenter, Clare (Carpenter) Court, Mary Yeats, Belle Carpenter

Wintertime saw him organizing many Carnival Floats: on one occasion three separate floats were prepared in the Gas Works yard. In the days of silent films he played the piano behind a screen in the Public Hall as well as the Church organ for Sunday school.

The nearby beach was an excuse to go boating for swimming and fishing and later racing with a 12-foot dinghy in the Exe Sailing Club. During the 1939-1945 war he was Superintendent of the St John's Ambulance Brigade and was active in organising War Savings Campaigns for the War effort.

After the war he helped to form and run the local Drama Club and was responsible for producing and acting in many successful plays. Nearing his retiring years he cultivated an interest devoted to artistic painting, officiating as Secretary for the Exmouth Art Group.

‘The Great War at Fairlynch’ 2015 exhibition at Budleigh Salterton’s very special museum! Reviews included: “Wonderful display on WW1, informative, bright and relevant. Well done!! 

Friday, 24 April 2015

WW1 tragedy of Budleigh Coast Guard remembered

 Pam Ashcroft with the WW1 plaques that she is lending to Fairlynch Museum  

 Precious and poignant items relating to the 1914-18 world conflict continue to be offered for display as part of ‘The Great War at Fairlynch’ in Budleigh Salterton’s museum.

The latest mementos to take their place in the exhibition come from Pam Ashcroft, great-niece of Ordinary Seaman Francis Thomas Veal.


The son of Francis and Elizabeth Veal of Budleigh Salterton’s Coast Guard Station, he lost his life, aged just 18, along with 800 other crew members in the HMS Vanguard explosion on 9 July, 1917.  His name is on the Budleigh War Memorial, opposite his then family home. 

It seems that the prime cause of the explosion is not known, but the most likely scenario is thought to be a fire in a compartment adjacent to a magazine which caused the cordite to explode.  Smoke detectors and automatic sprinkler systems were not fitted in HM ships of this date.


The commemorative plaque and scroll are treasured reminders to Francis Veal’s family of the son that they lost in the Great War

Budleigh-born Pam, who lives in Kilkenny, last visited the town some 15 years ago. The granddaughter of Bill and Kath Veal, of Boyne Road, she made the journey to the Museum on 10 April, coming all the way from Ireland to bring a commemorative plaque and a scroll, having heard about its ‘Great War’ display.

“They’re so special for me and my family, and it’s a privilege for us to have them,” she said. “We’re delighted to lend them to Fairlynch so that other people can see them in this wonderful exhibition.” 

If you can help the museum with similar WW1 items or stories please call Sheila on 01395 443197 or email  

‘The Great War at Fairlynch’ 2015 exhibition at Budleigh Salterton’s very special museum! Reviews included: “Wonderful display on WW1, informative, bright and relevant. Well done!!  


Wednesday, 22 April 2015

A seaman’s death at Gallipoli: Thomas Troake, 28 April 1915

Seaman Thomas Troake served on HMS Canopus, seen above

Royal Navy warships and their crews also suffered significant losses during the Gallipoli campaign. HMS Inflexible, HMS Irresistible and HMS Ocean were all mined and sunk in one day on 18 March 1915.

On board the battleship HMS Canopus was Seaman 27670 Thomas Troake of the Royal Naval Reserve. Thomas Troake has been identified on the Devon Heritage website as having been born in Budleigh Salterton in 1889, and as the husband of Ethel, of Charles Street, in Exmouth.

However the Commonwealth War Graves Commission site does not list his place of birth, and he is not recorded on this Devon Remembers site. 


Canopus' 12-inch (305 mm) guns fire on Turkish defences in the Dardanelles, March 1915. Photo by Ernest Brooks.
This is photograph Q13783 from the collections of the Imperial War Museums (collection no. 1900-62)

It was Canopus which in December 1914 had fired the first shot in the Battle of the Falklands to avenge the Royal Navy’s disaster at the Battle of Coronel.  

In February 1915, the ship transferred to the Mediterranean to take part in the Dardanelles campaign. On 2 March 1915, she engaged in the second attack on the Ottoman Turkish entrance forts at the Dardanelles, taking hits that tore off her main topmast and damaged her after funnel and wardroom.


Image credit: Harvey Barrison

Thomas Troake was believed to have been on deck at the time. He died of wounds eight weeks later in a field hospital on 28 April, aged  34. His name is recorded on the Cape Helles Memorial in Turkey, shown above. 

‘The Great War at Fairlynch’ 2015 exhibition at Budleigh Salterton’s very special museum! Reviews included: “Wonderful display on WW1, informative, bright and relevant. Well done!! 


A Budleigh Royal Marine at Gallipoli: William Richard Bull, 26 April 1915


The Lancashire Fusiliers land at Gallipoli
Photo Q 13219 from the collections of the Imperial War Museums (collection no. 1900-61)

A brief mention of the Great War’s Gallipoli campaign has been previously featured on this blog. However with the centenary of the disaster in people’s minds today it’s time for another look. 

Winston Churchill’s heroic stature in British history owes everything to his leadership in the country’s darkest hour during the Second World War.

By contrast, his reputation as a military strategist has suffered from decisions that he made at crucial moments during his time as First Lord of the Admiralty in the 1914-18 conflict.

There was, for example, his refusal to allow additional ships to be sent to reinforce Rear-Admiral Sir Christopher Cradock’s squadron prior to the Battle of Coronel in the Royal Navy’s first significant defeat in the Great War on 1 November 1914.

Better known is his responsibility for the military offensive involving  Britain and its allies during the eight-month Gallipoli Campaign. 

Also known as the Dardanelles Campaign, the offensive took place on the Gallipoli peninsula in the Ottoman Empire between 25 April 1915 and 9 January 1916. The Allies’ aim was to provide a sea route to the Russian Empire.


Troops landing at Suvla Bay, Turkey, 25 April 1915

Image credit: John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland

Russia's allies Britain and France launched a naval attack followed by an amphibious landing on the peninsula with the eventual aim of capturing the Ottoman capital of Constantinople, modern-day Istanbul. The naval attack was repelled and, after eight months' fighting, with many casualties on both sides, the land campaign also failed and the invasion force was withdrawn to Egypt. Gallipoli was a major Allied failure and one of the greatest Ottoman victories during World War One.

'Anzac, the landing 1915' by George Lambert, painted in 1922 shows the landing at Anzac Cove, 25 April 1915
The first Allied troops landed on 25 April. Among them was Lance Serjeant William Richard Bull, one of four Royal Marines associated with the Lower Otter Valley who lost their lives during World War One.  He was one of 2,000 Marines, King’s Own Scottish Borderers and South Wales Borderers, who took part in an amphibious landing on a beach south of Achi Baba. Poor communications with divisional headquarters have been blamed for the ensuing confused situation which rapidly turned into a disaster.

The first VC of the war was won at Gallipoli by a Royal Marine, but the Plymouth Battalion in which Lance Serjeant Bull was serving was reduced to half its strength.  He is recorded on the volunteer-run website as having died on 26 April, although other sources, including the Commonwealth Graves War Commission, give a later date of 3 May 1915. 



Twelve Tree Copse Cemetery   Image credit:

Lance Serjeant Bull is buried in Twelve Tree Copse Cemetery in Turkey along with 1,134 identified casualties.   

He is listed among those who died in their country’s service on the Budleigh Salterton Roll of Honour, a copy of which is on display in Fairlynch Museum. But strangely, his name is absent from other memorials in the town. Research at the Museum has shown that he was born in London in 1876, and married Ellen Alexandra Vowden in 1902; the couple’s three daughters were all born in the Plymouth area. His wife is recorded as having lived in Colaton Raleigh, and in Exmouth, but William Bull’s connection with Budleigh remains unclear.   

‘The Great War at Fairlynch’ 2015 exhibition at Budleigh Salterton’s very special museum! Reviews included: “Wonderful display on WW1, informative, bright and relevant. Well done!!