Navigation Links at the bottom of this page

May 2008


Arborfield apprentices
Duke of York's Royal Military School
Queen's Army Schoolmistresses
Trench warfare WWI

Arborfield apprentices
27 May 2008

Art, I hope all is well with you. I thought you'd enjoy the results of this survey among fellow Arborfield apprentices: an above ground pool project - theory vs practice.. First, I wish to thank all members of REME Past & Present and the Army Apprentices who offered suggestions on how to fill my pool, which started with this question.

Using a 1/4 HP continuous submersible pump 140 feet from the lake at height about 7 feet above the water and a 1¼" hose, how long would it take to fill the pool with 3,700 Imp Galls of water?

Armed with information googled on the Web, I visited my local Hardware store. The salesman, who didn't have a clue, asked his buddy, who suggested I use a 1/6 HP submersible pump priced at about $150. I was concerned about the HP, thinking that 1/6 wouldn't pull the skin off of a rice pudding'. Canadian Tire had a the same pump on sale for $59 and so, after collecting the necessary data to complete the job, I returned to my friendly hardware salesman. It must have been my lucky day, for he confessed he'd miscalculated the distance of 140 feet in suggesting a 1/3 HP pump. He took me to the repair shop where he had a used pump. 'Take it,' he said. 'See if this works before you buy a pump!' A nice gesture, so I bought hose and adaptors.

Then remembered. In the REME, problems always came in threes. Nothing has changed. Connecting the extension cords and calculating the voltage drop over 140 feet, I used some HD Cab Tire. That was the first mistake. It grounded and the pump quit pumping (glad I'd installed the GFI plug); the breaker popped and it was back to square one. I joined four lengths of hose, some stored under my front deck and not used for ten years. The flexible hose kits were 24 feet in length and came with connectors and hose clamps. Mistake number 2.

Switching on, I noticed that the lake was choppy, lifting the float switch up and down (i.e. on & off), so I jammed the switch on top of the pump in the 'on' position. Presto! Full flow at the first connection, but at the end of 140 feet, nothing issued from the hose. I switched off the pump and used a garden hose to flush out the line. I disconnected the last few feet of ABS pipe and gave it a suck, then a whack and out popped a dead mouse. Running upstairs, I gargled with a glass of Grants and then swallowed the lot. Success at last. After 3 hours the pool was over ½ full. Next morning, I was up at the crack of dawn and switched the pump back on. The water from the lake is a murky brown from rotting plants in the lake. This required a long run of the pool filter. I can't wait until we get back from Dartmouth for a swim and glass of Gin.


Duke of york's royal Military school
6 May 2008

Peter: I would like your advice on the following. I have an ancestor Joseph Ridge who served within the 3rd Kent Regiment during 1890-1905 or thereabouts. He was at the RMA for part of his upbringing (reason unknown). It is known ,that his father was a military cook (regiment unknown... suspect Royal Berkshire owing to area of likely origin), and is also likely to have been Joseph Ridge married to Emma Ridge. The young Joseph would have likely been at the RMA presumably between 1875-1890. How would it be possible to verify his attendance/education there and is it likely to shed light on the fate of his father Joseph (or perhaps which regiment he served under)?

Yvonne Ridge.

6 May 2008

Yvonne: I have checked the register. There is a William Joseph RIDGE, DOB 17/01/1902, admitted 31/10/1911. Father Joseph, Mother Margaret and the Regiment The Buffs, one of the Kent Regiments, & of the CE faith. The pieces don't quite fit, but if you can confirm his name and possible birth day. I will recheck the ledger for an error on my part re the mother's name. The only other RIDGE, Charles Cantwell b 1902 has the same parents and the same Regiment.


7 May 2008

Peter, Thanks so much for looking into this. It makes sense as William Joseph was my granddad. We knew that he had some military schooling, but the details were scant. His father Joseph it is said also attended a military asylum, presumably as a child, and I was assuming that this would be at Chelsea. I can confirm that Joseph initially served I believe in the 2nd Kent regiment, then the 3rd. Do you think it likely that he would go straight from the asylum into the regiment? His father also will presumably be recorded on a register or similar if Joseph did indeed attend Chelsea, but the reason for him arriving there is unknown, and I imagine it's difficult to shed any further light on this. Any further advice would be much appreciated and thanks again for looking into this initial enquiry.

Yvonne Ridge.

7 May 2008

Yvonne, I am still confused at the conflict between the mother of the boys, You state Emma; the ledger entry is Margaret. A possible solution is that Margaret was deceased at the time of admission and further sibling could have been born to Emma, wife No. 2. An accurate source for confirmation is the St Catherine's Index, which covers both Marriage and Births. A further source to investigate will be the Muster roils for the East Kent Regiment, also known as the 3rd Regiment of Foot or more commonly as the Buffs. The muster rolls are at Kew, and will cover movements, promotions, marriages Births etc. A good pointer will be the boy's date of birth. Both boys volunteered to the Royal Fusiliers, their attestation forms should carry details of home address and most importantly, a section of the form must have been completed, stating that the boy had been educated at the RMA-RHMS-Industrial School, the relevant school indicated. There is no proof that the father was educated at the RMA, The only other military school that fits the time frame is "The Gordon Boys School, Woking. The third, Queen Victoria School, Dunblane did not commence until 1909. I have not forgotten the RHMS Dublin, I have a comprehensive data base covering 1840-1932, unfortunately there are no RIDGE entries, Once the confusion is cleared re the mother's name, I am sure I can help further.


queen's army schoolmistresses
25 May 2008

Just a brief inquiry. Are any records available relating to one Enid Porter (presumed deceased sometime after May 1991)? My reason for asking is that she was a great friend of my Grandmother and I would like to know where she is interred as I plan to be visiting U.K. within the next year. Thank you for your help in this matter.

P.J.H. Cosgrove

25 May 2008

Sorry to tell you that we have only the sparest records of the QAS. I've passed your enquiry on to my colleague, Peter Goble, who is intimately familiar with the records we have. He might have suggestions, including making contact with the museum of the Governor General's Corps of which the Royal Army Educational Corps is a part.

Art Cockerill

26 May 2008

PJH: Unfortunately I have to agree with Art Cockerill, I have found only three. These were teaching in the late 1940s & early 50s, and in all cases were serving during the 14-18 war. The best place for an enquiry, is the Army Education Corps Museum at Winchester. Mr Ian Bailey is constructing a data base of schoolmasters & Schoolmistresses and will if he is able help. His email address is: 'ian bailey' I have made a note of the name, if you have any other details it will help. Possible age, known location and the year that your grandmother was 25. this will give me a possible year to commence a search, not forgetting the last known address.

Peter Goble

26 May 2008

Mr Goble: Thank you so much for your prompt response to my mail. Regarding my grandmother (Eileen. M.M. Cosgrove nee Luscombe), she was born in 1906 and thus would have been 25 in 1931. Her last address was Swevening, Four Forks, Spaxton, Somerset. She passed away in 1980. Her husband (my maternal Grandfather) was Major James Ryce Clyde Cosgrove (deceased 08.11.77). Both were teachers in the Royal Army Educational Corps, my grandmother being a QAS. As far as I can ascertain, Enid Porter was born in 1900 and met my Grandmother in Quetta or northern India in
the late 1930s. The last known address that I have for her is; Hatfield House, Chilham, Kent, U.K. I hope that this information may be of some use to you and that from this we may be able to find the last resting place of Enid Porter.

P.J.H. Cosgrove

26 May 2008

Thanks for your response, I will try to discover info re Enid Porter, but will need a little time. I have checked the existing data base of the Adjutant General Corps and, to my surprise, your Grandfather is missing. The collection and maintenance of the RAEC nominal rolls has been poor, Ian Bailey has begun to collect and collate, he will be most interested to add the details of your grandfather to the museums records.

Peter Goble

27 May 2008

I have checked the Free BMD records, unfortunately they are only transcribed to 1984. The address you have, Hatfield House: The St. Chilham. Canterbury; CT4 8DP is a nursing home. She probably died there. If you write to them or phone they may be able to help with the date of death, and the undertaker who arranged the interment. The same applies to the Registrar of Births. Marriages & Deaths for the Canterbury area. For a fee they will provide details of date of death etc. I checked the details and to my horror the cost of a certificate is £25. The alternative is to visit a local (in the UK) Library and check the St Catherine's Index to find the name you are looking for. One avenue to explore is the local Family History Society, they may have records of burials within the Canterbury area. I will send off a couple of emails and test the water.

Peter Goble

trench warfare wwi
6 May 2008

Mr Cockerill: Thank you for your email of 6 May to the Collections Enquiry Service, which has come to me for reply as the image to which you refer is a special interest of mine. Your letter raises the question of the identification of a soldier who is seen carrying a wounded comrade through the trenches in a well-known piece of First World War film, and links to a website suggesting the name of Gunner Herbert Bridgen.

The scene under discussion comes from a piece of film generally thought to have been taken on 1 July 1916, the first day of the Battle of the Somme, and used in an official British film called 'The Battle of the Somme', which was released to the public in mid-August 1916 (barely four weeks after the events it covered). The film is now preserved in the archive of this Museum. As you have noticed, this particular scene has become one of the classic images of the First World War, widely used both on television and in books and newspapers to evoke the experience of trench warfare and the heroism and suffering of the ordinary soldier.

Yours is by no means the first email, letter or phone call I have received asking about or suggesting a possible identification for the 'rescuer' in this particular scene. Many such contacts have been backed up by photographs of the nominated soldier which frequently display - as I would readily admit does the photograph of Gunner Bridgen - a marked resemblance to the soldier whose name is being suggested. A few of these claims are reinforced by family tradition going back on occasion several decades, but even in these cases there is no consensus around a single name. The majority of claims are based on the resemblance alone, generally with a note (as is again the case with Gunner Bridgen) that the soldier concerned never spoke of his wartime experiences. We have no firm evidence of our own to confirm any of the suggestions made to us, or to deny many of them, and as far as we are concerned, therefore, the issue must remain open.

In view of your interest, I will summarise below the extent of our own knowledge of this image:

Geoffrey Malins, the cameraman who filmed the scene, describes doing so in a book of personal reminiscences published after the war ('How I Filmed the War' - originally published 1920, reprinted by the Museum in 1993). He describes, on pages 167-168, how 'a trench mortar man' and another volunteer made the rescue, but does not say which of them actually carried the wounded man in; neither does he provide a name for either of them or any indication of the unit(s) to which they belonged. There are no official records that we have so far been able to trace which offer any more detail than this unofficial account.

Both Malins's book and the intertitle (caption) which introduces the sequence in the film - which of course has no commentary, as it pre-dates the era of the talkies by more than a decade - clearly state that the rescued man died shortly ('30 minutes') after being brought back in.

Malins is known to have spent most of the morning of July 1 in the trenches occupied by 29th and 4th Division opposite the German positions at Beaumont Hamel (where his presence is confirmed, for example, by the regimental history of the Lancashire Fusiliers), and we therefore assume that the rescue happened in this area. This opinion is reinforced by the fact that the wounded man appears to have the inverted triangle 'flash' of 29th Division on the shoulder of his tunic - something that is rather clearer in the film sequence than in the still photograph.

This would in turn suggest that the rescuer himself would be likely to have been a soldier in one of these two Divisions, or at least of another unit in the vicinity on that date. However, as I always tend to note, Malins is not always the most reliable of witnesses and, given the nature of events on 1 July 1916, the formalities of official orders of battle cannot really be relied on.

I hope you will forgive the appearance of a 'commercial break' if I provide the following details about acquiring a copy of the image in either it's still or moving form: (1) You can find a still photograph of the image in the 'Collections Online' pages of the IWM website. Go to, use the 'Please choose a collection' drop-down menu in the top right corner of the screen to restrict your search to Photographs, and then type in 'Q 79501' in the Photograph Number box. Click the blue link to the left of the resulting screen for access to a larger copy of the image, and a facility to order a print. (2) The whole of 'The Battle of the Somme' in its original form has previously been available for purchase on video, and we hope to publish it on DVD later this year. Pease keep an eye on the Museum's website for further news of this project.

I hope this information is of use to you. Please write to me again if you have any further questions.

Roger Smither

6 May 2008

Roger: Thank you for your full and generous response to my enquiry re the Malins' film of the poignant scene about which I enquired and discussed in the article published at URL Being a member and contributor to the Journal of the Society of Army Historical Research, to The Irish Sword, too, I am very well aware of the need for verifiable evidence and solid sources, so I am not surprised that claims of kinship in the case under discussion are (probably) too numerous to count.

I decided to publish the article as referenced because of a solid connection of Gunner Bridgen to the Royal Military Asylum. It makes an interesting if speculative connection, interesting to readers of this history site. The Bridgen case is an interesting one, for he is the exception that tests the rule among boys of the RMA and its successor institution, the Duke of York's in the he remained in his enlistment rank (of gunner) throughout his service. [Most boys of whom we have a record, attained commissioned and senior non-commissioned rank.] Bridgen, however, suffered from epilepsy, mild perhaps, but reason enough to earn him a medical discharge had he not been protected by some special connection, his origin from the Chelsea school guaranteed his retention in the service. Similarly, his possible presence in the trench is unproven. We have not located the position of the 76th Battery of the 9th Brigade. Given its possible position and use of a forward observation officer and driver, what I've suggested is feasible and no more.

Thank you for your reference an image of this soldier. I followed the directions you gave and got the message No records found by latest query. I should be happy to pay a fee for a clear image provided I can get at it!

Art Cockerill

Table of Contents - Correspondence

Correspondence Home
January 2009
Decenber 2008
November 2008
July 2008
June 2008
May 2008

April 2008
March 2008
February 2008
January 2008
December 2007
November 2007
October 2007
September 2007
August 2007
July 2007
June 2007
May 2007
April 2007
March 2007
February 2007
January 2007
December 2006

November 2006
October 2006

September 2006

August 2006

July 2006
June 2006
May 2006
April 2006
March 2006
February 2006
January 2006
December 2005
November 2005
August 2005
July 2005
June 2005
May 2005
April 2005
March 2005
February 2005
May 2004
January - April 2004
2001- 2002
Delta Tech Systems Inc
Duke of York's Royal Military School
Royal Hibernian Military School
Reminiscences of a Queen's Army  Schoolmistress
World War I letters and Reports
Books and Militaria
Publications and Papers
Wellington on Waterloo
Related Links

© A. W. Cockerill 2005

Site Map    Contact me