My great uncle on my birth mother's tree, Frank Musgrove (seated), was born on 15th June 1898. On the 1901 census he was just two years old living with his parents, 5 brothers and one sister plus his grandmother on a single floor in the slums of London's Kensington at 27 Southam Street. Ten years later in 1911 he was still there with his parents and younger brother, John. Like his brothers, he probably thought signing up was a chance to escape this poverty.
Frank enlisted at Hammersmith and served with the 2nd Battalion of The Queens Regiment (The Queens Own Buffs). Without applying for his war records it is impossible to know exactly which battles Frank fought in but he was certainly fighting with the regiment at what became known as 'Passendale 1917' which was one of the great conflicts of the First World War.
Ten days of heavy bombardment of the German trenches took place before the Allied attack on 31st July 1917. Over the next 100 days of heavy fighting there were over half a million Allied casualties with a gain of only a few miles. The weather in August brought the heaviest rain they had there for over 30 years and this caused the land to become a thick, muddy swamp.
Battle of Langemarck - 16th August
Battle of the Menin Road Bridge - 20th September
Battle of Polygon Wood - 26th September
Battle of Broodseinde - 4th October
Battle of Poelcappelle - 9th October
First battle of Passendale - 12th October
...... before, on 6th November, the small village of Passendale was captured.
The Commonwealth War Grave Memorial says that Frank died of his wounds on 5th October 1917. He was buried in the Godewaersvelde British Cemetery, and although it is difficult to read, this is a photo of his grave.
There is an entry in the Battalion War Diaries on 1st October that two soldiers were taken from the trenches to, presumably, a field hospital, and without further information, I think Frank may have been one of these soldiers. One can only imagine his suffering.
He was just 19 years old.
Also remember other ancestors :
W8 : Robert Sandeman - died 18/11/1916 Battle of The Somme
W13 : James Sandeman - died 19/4/1917 Second Battle of Gaza