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Friday, February 28, 2014

Church records

On a recent visit to the archives at Liverpool Central Library I found a few snippets of information about the war memorial and St James Church.

I was disappointed to see that the Records of Services didn't give any details other than a title for the services but they were still interesting.  They showed that, as you would expect, the war was considered daily in church with either 'war intercession' or 'war litany' services/lessons.

The record of collections during services shows that money was collected for a variety of war-related causes including:

Roll of honour fund
St James wounded soldiers and prisoners of war
Blinded soldiers
Wounded soldiers
French fund
Belgian fund
Armenian fund

I was also looking for family names connected with the memorial, there weren't any mentioned in the records of services but the Vestry meeting minutes had lists of sidesmen/women for each year (ushers)  and several of them shared surnames with the men on the memorial. for the more uncommon names Tonkies, and Reay we can be fairly sure that they were the same family, for Irvine, Clarke, Owen, Jones and Harker it seems very likely they were relatives but without their christian names recorded it is impossible to be sure.

I was very pleased to find a record of the cost of the memorial, the annual church warden accounts for 1920-1921 show 'St James War Memorial £22-4-11 which would be about £840 today... not quite the £10,000 it's going to cost for a replica!

Monday, February 17, 2014

Lance Corporal Marcus McLean 356377


There was only one Marcus McLean on the census, BMD and CWGC records and he was from Liverpool.

Family Information

Baptism records show that Marcus McLean was born in Liverpool on 6th September 1893 and was baptised in St Peter's Church on 22nd February 1894.
His parents were William and Sarah McLean and they lived on Roche Street
(I believe this is a misspelling of Roach St). William was a joiner.

In the 1901 census the McLean family were living at 32 Roach Street in Toxteth. William was still head of the household and working as a joiner. The census shows us that Marcus was the youngest of 7 children and the first member of the family born outside of Ireland.

At the time of the 1911 census the McLean family lived at 208 Windsor Street, Toxteth. William was still head of the household and stated his occupation as 'Undertaker and Joiner' working on his own account and at home; the 1911 Gore's Directory of Liverpool and Suburbs has the business listing for Mclean, William & Sons, Undertakers, 208 Windsor St.  Marcus was working as a builder's clerk, his siblings at home all had jobs that suggest a good education with 2 other clerks, one teacher and one undertaker's assistant in the family business.  

Military Service

Marcus McLean's Medal Index Card (below, source: shows that he was a private in the Liverpool Regiment with the regimental numbers 4868 and 356377.  These numbers show that he enlisted sometime in June 1915.

The card shows that Marcus McLean first entered the war on 24th December 1915 in France. He was awarded the Victory Medal, British War Medal and the 1915 Star, the card does not record his promotion to Lance Corporal.

Death and Commemoration

Marcus McLean was killed in action with the 10th Battalion, The King’s Liverpool Regiment on 9th April 1918. 

The battalion war diary shows that in March the Battalion had been rested which means they were out of the front line and took part in various training exercises and organised activities such as performances by the Battalion concert party and a platoon 6-a-side football tournament (which was won by Transport Coy). On 28th March the Battalion was moved to the front line. 31st March was Easter Sunday.

On 1st April the Battalion was occupying front line and support trenches directly opposite La Bassee Canal.  Over the next week there was some shelling by the enemy including gas shells, we made a successful raid on the German trenches and brought back a prisoner for identification. The diary records various incidents of sniping and bombs being thrown. It records that on the 8th April the battalion received orders to relieve part of the Portuguese Division the following day then in the early hours of the 9th April a heavy bombardment of our lines began, followed by the order for battle positions. The 10th KLR moved to occupy their battle position in Tuning Fork Locality, they were heavily shelled with high explosives and gas shells en route and sustained heavy casualties. At 9.50am after 5 hours of heavy shelling, the Germans attacked along the front line.  The 10th KLR held off the enemy attack but the Portuguese Division to their left could not, the Germans penetrated our lines and the 10th KLR had to form a defensive flank on that side which they did using Loisne Central trench. The night was quiet.
Trench map showing the Tuning Fork area. Loisne Central would be in the very top left of the map if it was shown.

Marcus McLean is commemorated at Gorre British and Indian Cemetery. The following paragraphs are from the CWGC Cemetery Information Page for Gorre, and give the wider picture of the battle:

The British section of the cemetery was used by infantry and artillery units stationed in the area until April 1918, when the relative quiet of the sector was shattered by the German Spring Offensive and Gorre became a support post close behind the front line during the Battle of Estaire. This battle was one of two massive German assaults on the Commonwealth positions from Ypres to Festubert that became known as the Battle of the Lys. When the battle erupted on 9 April, the 55th (West Lancashire) Division occupied the front-line trenches running north from Givenchy to Richebourg L’AvouĂ©. The Allied positions to their left, around the village of Le Touret, were held by Portuguese units. 
After a preliminary artillery bombardment that began on the evening of 7 April the German Sixth Army, spearheaded by storm troops, attacked in force early on the morning of the 9th. Heavy mist enabled the attackers to get very close to the Allied lines before they were observed and Portuguese units suffered heavy casualties and began to retire. Further south, the various formations of the 55th Division were hard pressed from the outset and the front line trenches around Givenchy were the scene of fierce fighting between British and German troops. The divisional brigade holding the northern section of the British line was forced to pull back, but well-organised counter-attacks and determined defence elsewhere enabled the 55th Division to hold its ground for the rest of the battle and prevent a major German breakthrough. Fighting continued in the trenches east of Gorre until 17 April when the German forces finally broke off the attack. In just over a week of fighting almost 3,000 officers and men of the Division had been killed, wounded, or taken prisoner, but the territory over which they had fought remained in Allied hands. 

Marcus McLean’s grave is ‘special memorial 2’ which I believe means that his is one of the graves which was lost due to shelling so he has a gravestone which indicates that he lies somewhere in the cemetery. There are only 4 of these special markers in the cemetery.

You can view (and purchase) images of his gravestone on The War Graves Photographic Projectwebsite. His family in Liverpool also had him included on the family headstone which reads:
loving memory
the beloved husband of
Sarah Cameron McLEAN,
who passed away 28th March 1918,
aged 63 years.
*Thy will be done.*
Also Marcus, L’Cpl: Lpool Scottish,
youngest son of the above,
killed in action in France 9th April 1918,
aged 24 years.
*Greater love hath no man than this.*

Marcus’s mother lost her husband and her youngest son within a few weeks. (I will add a photo of this headstone)

The entry in “UK Soldiers Died in the Great War 1914-1919” for Marcus McLean records the following information:
Marcus Mclean
Death Date:
9 Apr 1918
Death Location:
France & Flanders
Enlistment Location:
King's (Liverpool Regiment)
10th Battalion
Type of Casualty:
Killed in action
Theatre of War:
Western European Theatre

The 10th Battalion of the King's Liverpool Regiment were the Liverpool Scottish.  Click here to open  the Liverpool Scottish Regimental Museum website. This site also contains images of the Liverpool Scottish WW1 Roll of Honour, a beautiful book which of course contains Marcus McLean's name.
Marcus’s family and his fiance, Elsie Hodgson,  also posted the following notices in the Liverpool Echo:

 (25th April 1918)
(26th April 1918)

Monday, February 3, 2014

Private Edward Burston 1544

Edward Burston


I found two results for Edward Burston in the CWGC database. One had the full name Edward but was in the Devonshire Regiment and it stated that he was from Somerset. The other had only the initial E and was in the South Lancashire Regiment with no details as to where he lived.

It seemed likely that the second record was the correct Edward Burston. Cross referencing with the Soldiers Died in the Great War results from gave me further proof that this was the correct man. As you can see below the SDGW entry shows that this E Burston in the South Lancs was Edward and from Toxteth, Liverpool. I am happy that I have the correct soldier.

Family information:

Edward Burston was born December1894-January 1895 and registered in Liverpool. He was baptised on 6th Feb 1895 at St John the Baptist, Toxteth Park. His parents were Samuel Frederick Burston and Priscilla, Samuel was a labourer and they lived at 41 Gaskell St.

Edward's mother died in 1901. In the census that year Edward aged 6 and 3 of his brothers (William 11, James 8, John 3) were enumerated at the house of their uncle and aunt Charles and Julie Burston, 90 Stanhope St. His father and 3 further brothers (Thomas 19, Joseph 15, Frederick 13) were next-door at 92 Stanhope St.

The 1911 census return shows Edward with 3 of his brothers (Joseph, Jim and John) and his father. They were living at 8 Friendship Place, Hampton St. This may sound pleasant but I think it was court housing with a pretty name.

Military information:

Edward enlisted in the army on 20th April 1912.  He was given the regimental number 1544 in the South Lancashire Regiment.
He was mobilized from the army reserve on 8th August 1914, embarked at Southampton on 4th December 1914 and was posted to the 2nd Bn South Lancashire Regiment  5th December 1914.

Some of Edward's paperwork survived (although damaged) in the National Archives. His attestation document shows that Edward was aged 17yrs 4months when he signed up in April 1912 for a period of 6 years. He had been working as a casual labourer and had a reference from his employer Mr J Hewitt of 22 Hampton Street.

Edward listed his next of kin as father Frederick and brothers Joseph, James and John all of 12 Court, 8 House Hampton St, Liverpool.

His medical report shows that Edward was examined on 19th April 1912 when he was 17yrs and 4 months old. He was 5ft 2 and 5/8 inches tall and weighed 121 lbs. His physical development was good and he had been vaccinated in infancy. He had brown eyes and dark brown hair. His distinguishing marks were ‘ a circular scar inside left shoulder blade, a scar small of back and a mole below left nipple.’

During his time in the army Edward may not have been the perfect soldier; in the few months he was in France, his record sheet shows several punishments. His conduct sheet has the following entries:
Wounded in ??? 23/1/15

Awarded 3days field punishment No2 for
“Irregular conduct on parade ie laughing on parade.”

Awarded 7 days field pun No2 for
“not complying with an order eg not carrying a wounded man’s equipment when ordered to do so by an officer” and  “Disobedience of battalion orders ie wearing gum boots on parade”

Awarded 3 days field punishment No2 for
“not being properly dressed on parade ie being deficient of a (unreadable) shirt”

[Field punishment number 2 involved being shackled and handcuffed but not attached to anything and sometimes also hard labour.]

The papers also note that Edward "Died, from wounds received in action. Place: Kemmel" and was "buried in the cemetery north of the chateau, Kemmel." A later note shows that his body was exhumed and reburied in Kemmel Chateau Military Cemetery.

Edward’s record also shows that his pay went to his brother Frederick Samuel Burston of 112 Upper Essex St, Liverpool. His father had passed away in 1913. In 1920 Frederick completed some forms for and listed Edward’s family as consisting of himself, two other brothers (John and James) and Thomas who was listed as a half-brother. Joseph and William were not mentioned.

The entry in UK SOLDIERS DIED IN THE GREAT WAR 1914-1919 shows the following:
  Edward Burston
Birth Place:
  Toxteth, Liverpool
Death Date:
  12 Mar 1915
Death Location:
  France & Flanders
Enlistment Location:
  Prince of Wales's Volunteers (South      Lancashire Regiment)
  2nd Battalion
Type of Casualty:
  Died of wounds
Theatre of War:
  Western European Theatre

Edward’s medal card shows that he was a private, earned the Victory, British and 1915 Star medals and Died of Wounds 12th March 1915. It also shows that he fought in France, entering this 'theatre of war' on 5th December 1914.

Death and Commemoration

The date of Edward’s death places it at the Battle of Neuve Chapelle and it is likely that he received his wounds on the opening day of the action, 10th March 1915.
Edward’s family informed the Liverpool Echo of his death and the following notice and photograph were printed on 6th April, you will see that it mentions St James’ Church.

Edward’s name was placed on the St James Memorial but, with the loss of that memorial, he was not commemorated anywhere in Liverpool until 2012 when we had his name added to the Roll of Honour at Liverpool Town Hall.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Private Thomas Hermann Lindburg / Girvin 157051, 3035, 241410

Thomas Herman Lindburg / Girvin

This was a puzzle, he is one of the last men to be identified and it was only due to a breakthrough by Kathy Donaldson that I found him at all. 

Kathy spotted a soldier named Thomas Herman Lindburg whose mother was named Harriet Girvin, they lived in Brassey St, Toxteth so were right by St James Church. It seemed possible that this was the soldier from the memorial but some further research was required to prove it.

Family Information

Thomas Herman Lindburg was born on 3rd October 1895 in Liverpool. He was christened on 11th November 1895 in St Peter's Church, Liverpool. The christening record shows his mother Harriet Marian Lindburg of South Chester Street and no father.

A check of earlier records shows that his mother was indeed unmarried at the time of his birth as she was born 19th February 1874 and christened Harriet Marion Lindburg 14th March 1875 in St Peter's Church, Liverpool. Her parents were Hermann Lindburg and Harriet Lindburg of Brassey Street. Hermann was a mariner. 

Harriet Marian's earlier life is unclear from the records, her parents were married 31st May 1868, her father's full name was Knutt Hermann Lindburg or Lindbury, aged 27 and a mariner, his father was Elias Lindbury, a carpenter. Her mother's name was Harriet Higgins, she was 18 years old and her father James Higgins was a shipwright. Both addresses were 'Mann St'. Harriet Marian was born in 1874, and a sister Martha Ellen Hodson Lindburg was born in 1878. 

The 1881 census shows no trace of Herman or Harriet (mother) and both daughters were enumerated at the house of their grandmother Ann Higgins. 

The 1891 census shows no trace of Herman or Harriet (mother) and both daughters were enumerated at the house of  John Simpkins, they are described as his neices but due to Ann Higgins being present as his sister, it would appear that he was actually their grand-uncle. 

Thomas Lindburg/Girvin was born in 1895 as shown above. 

In the 1901 census there is no Harriet Lindburg, but there is a Harriet Girvin aged 26 and married (but with no husband at home) and two sons, Thomas Girvin aged 5 and William Girvin aged 3.

In the 1911 census Thomas Girvin, aged 40, was the head of the household at 13 Brassey Street with his wife Harriet Girvin, Thomas Herman Lindburg aged 15 (son), William Girvin aged 13 (son) and Reginald Broad Lindburg (nephew) aged 2. Thomas and Harriet say they have been married for 14 years and have had 2 children, one surviving. 

In 1915 Harriet Marian Lindburgh and Thomas Girvin were married at St Nicholas Church, Liverpool. Bride's father Herman Lindburgh (deceased) and one witness Martha Ellen Lindburgh. 

So, Thomas and Harriet had lied about being married, it is possible that Thomas really was the father of Thomas Herman. In 1901 Harriet listed his name as Girvin so we can assume that is the name he went by. In 1911 either he had reverted to his real name or Thomas Girvin was more conscientious when filling in the census forms.  Thomas Herman used his real name of Lindberg to enlist but his family had him added to the memorial as Girvin.

Military Service

Thomas's service records have not survived but his medal card shows that he served with The King's (Liverpool Regiment) with the regimental number 3503 and with the Machine Gun Corps with the regimental number 157051 and was entitled to the British War Medal and the Victory Medal. 

His entry in UK Soldiers Died in the Great War 1914-1919 adds that he was born in Liverpool and enlisted in Liverpool. 

Information on the King's Liverpool Regiment database at the Museum of Liverpool shows that he served with the 2/6th KLR with the service number 241410

Death and Commemoration

Thomas Lindburg died of wounds on 27th October 1918 whilst serving with the MGC. This means it is likely he was wounded during the Battle of the Selle which was part of the final advance on Picardy in the Hundred Days Offensive of the end of the war. 

Thomas Lindberg is buried in Awoingt Cemetery, Awoingt is a village near Cambrai. The cemetery was used for about a month from the middle of October 1918. It holds 653 Commonwealth graves, mostly casualties from the 38th, 45th and 59th Casualty Clearing Stations which were posted in the area. As we know that Thomas Lindberg died of wounds it is likely that he died in one of these CCSs.

Thomas Lindberg's name does not appear on the Hall of Remembrance at Liverpool Town Hall. 

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Private Norman Bracher 358365

Norman Bracher


There was only one entry for an N Bracher in the CWGC database and this soldier was from Liverpool so I am confident that it is the right person.

Family Information

Norman Bracher was born in Liverpool on 2nd June 1898 (as shown on his baptism record) He was baptised 10th July the same year in the Church of St Margaret, Toxteth Park. His parents were John Edward and Elizabeth Alma of 62 Egerton St and John Edward's occupation was racquet maker.

The 1901 census return shows they were still living at 62 Egerton St with a total of 8 children, two were listed as John’s step-sons so it would appear that Elizabeth had been married before. John Edward (who was born in London) was now employed as a 'Club Hall Porter'

In the 1911 census the family were living at 86 Berkley St, Elizabeth Alma was listed as Alma Elizabeth and Norman was aged 12 and at school, we know that he attended Granby Street School. John Edward was working as a Hall Porter in a Racquet Club

Norman Bracher was a keen cricketer, he represented his school in three ‘A’ Division cricket finals and in three baseball finals. He was also a skilled footballer.  The sports section of the Liverpool Echo shows an N Bracher playing cricket for St James Lorretonians.

[The Racquet Club opened in 1877 at 102 Upper Parliament Street, it differed from other Gentlemen's Clubs in that it provided sports facilities as well as the usual social club.  It had two Racquets Courts and an American Bowling Alley, a dining room and billiards room. All available for an annual subscription of 5 Guineas. Between 1894 and 1896, the dining room was enlarged again; a new private room was added, new kitchens and electric lighting. At the same time the Bowling Alley was converted into two fives courts - one Eton and one Rugby but by the turn of the century the Rugby Fives court was being used as a squash court. A covered lawn tennis court with sprung wooden floor was added in 1913. The Racquet Club continued here until the building was destroyed by fire in the riots of 1981]

Military Information

Norman Bracher's medal card shows that he was a private in the Liverpool Regiment with the regimental number 358365. He received the victory medal and the British War Medal, the other sections of the card are blank.

His entry in UK SOLDIERS DIED IN THE GREAT WAR 1914-1919 gives the following information:
Norman Bracher
Birth Place:
Death Date:
15 Jul 1917
Death Location:
France & Flanders
Enlistment Location:
King's (Liverpool Regiment)
10th Battalion
Type of Casualty:
Died of wounds
Theatre of War:
Western European Theatre

The 10th battalion were the Liverpool Scottish but at the time of his death, Norman Bracher was attached to the 6th Camerons. The battalion history for the Cameron Highlanders shows that on the night of the 12/13th July, the Germans launched 1000 shells of mustard gas into Ypres. Some of the shells hit a convent where “C” company of 6th Camerons was billeted. Almost 200 men were affected, one officer and 36 men later died. It seems very likely that Norman was one of the men affected by the gas who died at a nearby clearing station.  The 4th, 47th and 21st casualty clearing stations were near Poperinghe, site of the gas attack.


Norman’s name was inscribed on the Granby St School Memorial (currently not on display) and on the St James memorial (stolen and destroyed). In 2012 the St James War Memorial Project had his name added to the Liverpool Town Hall, Hall of Remembrance.

Norman’s family placed the following notices in the Echo:

27th , 28th and 30th July 1917
BRACHER – July 1915, died of gas poisoning in casualty clearing station, aged 19 years, Private Norman (Norrie) Bracher, K.L.R. (attached Camerons) dearly-beloved youngest son of John and Alma Bracher, 86, Berkley-street. “His duty nobly done”.

15th July 1918
BRACHER – In sad but loving memory of our dear son Norman (Norrie), K.L.R., attached Camerons, who died of wounds in France, July 15th 1917. – Never forgotten by his loving Mother, Father, Sisters and Brothers, also Jack, George and Alick serving with the colours – 86, Berkley-street, Liverpool. Duty nobly done.

Norman Bracher is buried in Dozinghem Military Cemetery, Belgium in grave I.C.18
Dozinghem Military Cemetery (copyright CWGC)

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Able Seaman Thomas Henry Bramwell 233784

Thomas Henry Bramwell

There was only one result for T H Bramwell in the CWGC database and as it showed that his mother lived on Upper Stanhope St, I am happy that it is the correct man.

Family Information

Thomas Henry Bramwell was born on 21st May 1888 in Liverpool and baptised in St Peter’s Church on 2nd July that year. His parents were Louisa Charlotte Bramwell and Thomas Bramwell, a plumber, of Great Newton Street.

The 1891 census shows that the Bramwell family were living at 6 Great Newton Street and the head of the household was Louisa’s father, John Royle. The complete household was:
John Royle, head, married, 58, Booker on the L&NW Railway, born Manchester
Catherine Royle, wife, aged 50, born Liverpool
Charles Royle, son, married, aged 27, unemployed, born Liverpool
Thomas Bramwell, son in law, married,  23, loader on L&NW railway, born Liverpool
Louisa C Bramwell, wife, married, 22, born Liverpool
Thomas Bramwel, son, aged 2, born Liverpool
John Bramwell, son, aged 10 months, born Liverpool.

Thomas Bramwell attended St Bride's School, Toxteth. This school was opened in 1834 on Upper Stanhope St but by the time Thomas attended it was in Grey St, Toxteth very close to Fletcher St where the Bramwell family were living in the 1901 census:

11 Fletcher Street,
Thomas Bramwell, head, married, 32, Scales porter
Louisa Bramwell, wife, married, 30,
Thomas Bramwell, son, single, 12
Louisa Bramwell, daughter, single, 8
John Bramwell, son, single, 6
Ethel Bramwell, daughter, single, 3
George Bramwell, son, single, 3
Thomas Crebbin,visitor, single, 28, boiler maker
Ellen Royle, visitor, married, 33

Thomas Henry Bramwell joined the Navy when he was 15 (in 1903) so he wasn't enumerated with his family in the 1911 census. For this census Louisa was head of the household at 21 Upper Stanhope St with 8 of her 10 children, her husband wasn't there but she listed herself as married.

Naval Service.

I have a copy of Thomas Henry Bramwell’s record  of service. He engaged  for 12 years C.S. (continuous service) in the Navy which came into effect on his 18th birthday,  21st May 1906. His number was 233784 and port division Portsmouth. He was 5ft 3inches tall with brown hair, brown eyes and a fresh complexion.

His occupation when he signed up was ‘shed boy & general labourer’ and by the time the form was filled out in 1906 he had quite a few distinguishing marks:- scar right eyebrow, heart cross J.B. heart left forearm, anchor cross & star right forearm, star & dot back of right hand, 3 dots back of left hand. 
[in traditional sailor's tattoos the stars are to guide you home, anchors denote the merchant marine and/or crossing the Atlantic, crosses are to ensure you get a christian burial, three dots in a triangle on the hand was the traditional tattoo after your first voyage.]

Thomas H Bramwell’s record of service gives the date of his 18th birthday as the date of his engagement but he actually joined the Navy when he was 15 and the  list the ships etc that he served on, with dates, shows that aged 17 he served as a  “Boy second class” and “Boy first class” on HMS Boscawen (a shore establishment) HMS Hawke, HMS Victory I (Shore establishment) and HMS Good Hope. When he turned 18 he automatically became an “Ordinary Seaman” and was subject to naval discipline as an adult and I will have to check whether this is the point that  the 12 years engagement was reckoned from.

As an Ordinary Seaman (O.S.) Thomas H Bramwell served on :

HMS Good Hope, (Drake-class armoured cruiser) 21/05/1906 – 31/12/1906, character VG.
He was then promoted to Able Seaman (A.B.) and served on the following ships or shore establishments:

HMS Good Hope, (Drake-class armoured cruiser) 01/01/1907 – 15/07/1907, character VG
HMS Vernon (Shore: torpedo school),                      16/07/1907 – 31/03/1908, char V.G
HMS Victory I (shore establishment),                         01/04/1908 – 01/08/1908, char V.G.-V.G.
HMS Argonaut (Diadem-class cruiser),                     02/08/1908 – 17/08/1908, char V.G.-G
HMS Venus (Eclipse-class cruiser),                           18/08/1908 – 04/12/1910, char V.G. –SAT
HMS Excellent (shore: gunnery school),                     05/12/1901 – 06/05/1911, char F-SAT
HMS Victory I(shore establishment),                           07/05/1911 – 15/05/1911, char MOD
HMS Invincible  (Invincible-class battlecruiser),         16/05/1911 – 07/08/1912, char V.G. –
                                                                                    10 DAYS CELLS
HMS Invincible (Invincible-class battlecruiser)         18/08/1912 – 30/10/1912, char FAIR – SAT
                                                                                    30 DAYS DETENTION (ABSENCE)
HMS Victory I(shore establishment),                         27/11/1912 – 27/11/1912
HMS Invincible (Invincible-class battlecruiser)         28/11/1912 – 09/05/1913
                                                                                    14 DAYS CELLS
HMS Invincible (Invincible-class battlecruiser)                      24/05/1913 – 05/11/1913
                                                                                    21 DAYS DETENTION (ABSENCE)
HMS Invincible (Invincible-class battlecruiser)                      26/11/1913 – 23/12/1913
HMS Victory I(shore establishment),                         24/12/1913 – 17/01/1914
 HMS Vindictive (Arrogant-class light cruiser,).                     18/01/1914 – 29/07/1914
HMS Victory I(shore establishment),                         30/07/1914 – 02/08/1914
HMS Invincible (Invincible-class battlecruiser)                   03/08/1914 – 31/05/1916
                                                                                    D.D. [Discharged Deceased]
                                                                                    CLASS FOR CONDUCT: 2nd
N.P. 4060/1916 D.D. 31st May 1919 KILLED IN ACTION

HMS Invincible (source: Wikipedia commons)
We can see from this record that Thomas Henry Bramwell’s war service took place on the HMS Invincible. The H.M.S. Invincible was a battlecruiser of the Royal Navy, the lead ship of her class of three, and the first battlecruiser to be built by any country. After an initial period of near-continual modification she became an active unit of the Battlecruiser Force. Thomas Henry Bramwell was serving on this ship when she participated in the Battle of Heligoland Bight (28th August 1914), the Battle of the Falkland Islands (8th December 1914) and the Battle of Jutland, where she was sunk in action at 6:34pm on 31 May, 1916. The total number of officers and men on board at the time was 1,031. Of these only six survived. Thomas Henry Bramwell was not one of the lucky six.

HMS Invincible being destroyed (source: Wikipedia)


Entry in “UK, Royal Navy and Royal Marine War Graves Roll, 1914-1919”

Name:             Thomas Henry Bramwell
Rank:              AB
Birth Date:       21 May 1888
Birth Place:     Liverpool, Lancashire
Branch of Service:      Royal Navy
Cause of Death:          Killed or died as a direct result of enemy action
Official Number Port Division:            233784. (Po)
Death Date:     31 May 1916
Ship or Unit:    HMS Invincible
Location of Grave:      Not recorded
Name and Address of Cemetery:      Body Not Recovered For Burial
Relatives Notified and Address:         Mother: Louise Bramwell, 21, Upper Stanhope Street, Liverpool

Thomas Henry Bramwell, as well as being commemorated on the St James Memorial, has two entries in the Hall of Remembrance at Liverpool Town Hall.


T. H.


They must both be for the same man as there are no records of a second T Bramwell being killed on the Invincible. This is not unusual in the Hall of Remembrance as family members may have duplicated entries, or confusion about rank may have led to two entries being made.

Local newspapers

On 12th June 1916, an article in the Liverpool Echo contained information about T.H. Bramwell, with a photograph. The article was entitled “More Local Naval Men Who Fell” and gave details of 8 sailors. I have reproduced only the part about Thomas Bramwell.

Thomas Henry Bramwell, seaman-gunner, whose mother resides at 21, Upper Stanhope Street, Liverpool, was on board H.M.S. Invincible. He was educated at St Bride’s School. He joined the Navy at fifteen years of age and had been in the Venus, Good Hope, Boscowan as well as the Invincible where he met his death. He was just finishing his time. He fought in the Heligoland, Falkland Islands and the Lowestoft battles.

Thomas Henry Bramwell has no known grave but his name is inscribed on Panel 12 of the Portsmouth Naval Memorial.
Portsmouth Naval Memorial (Copyright CWGC)