Viscount David Andrew Noel Stuart (Alamein Memorial – Column 19)

Viscount David Andrew Noel Stuart was the son of Arthur Stuart, M.C., 7th Earl Castle Stewart, and Eleanor the Countess Castle Stewart, of Nutley, Sussex, and Stewartstown, County Tyrone. Viscount Stuart received his education at Eton College and Trinity College, Cambridge where he studied Languages prior to joining the service. He joined the 11th Hussars on 15th July 1942 and was described as a fine and extremely promising troop leader,  one much liked by his men.

Viscount David Noel Andrew Stuart, 11th Hussars

232729 Lieutenant David Andrew Noel Stuart

Age 21, Royal Armoured Corps, 11th Hussars, Panel Reference:Column 19, Alamein Memorial 

The War Diaries for the 11th Hussars state that enemy aircraft, including ME 109’s and CR 42’s attacked them at 1300 hrs on the 10th of November 1942. They came under further attack at 1500 hrs by a total of 7 ME109’s. The attack lasted for 25 minutes and consisted of bouncing bombs are low level machine gun strafing. Lieutenant D.A.N. Stuart, aged 21, was killed in this action and his driver – operator, Trooper Cahill was severely wounded. Three lorries were also destroyed in the course of the attack.The diaries state that Lieutenant Stuart will be greatly missed by his squadron and that he was buried near Bir Bibni 376354 by Major Wainman and Captain Wright (Doctor).

He is commemorated on column 19 of the Alamein Memorial in Egypt, the Stewartstown Cenotaph and on a Memorial Plaque in Donaghendry Church of Ireland, Stewartstown.

Source: http://www.cookstownwardead.co.uk/

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Interpreting Egypt’s War Cemeteries and Memorials

Cemeteries, the final resting places dedicated to our bodies after death, reflect the spiritual beliefs and preferences of every culture allowing families and others a place to go for visiting, mourning, reflecting and memorializing the dead. The Imperial War Graves Commission were charged to care for all members of the Armed Forces who ‘died from wounds inflicted, accident occurring or disease contracted, while on active service whether on sea or land’. It was empowered to acquire and hold land for cemeteries and for permanent memorials where appropriate. It was enjoined to provide for burials, to erect and care for memorials, to keep accurate registers of the fallen and to look after those graves which lay outside cemeteries.

At the first meeting of the Commission held in 1917, the major principles of the Commission were laid down and still hold true today. The views expressed were that ‘in the erection of memorials on the graves there should be no distinction between officers and men’. This was a radical departure from the past where Officers were individually recognised and ordinary soldiers were customarily buried with less respect than truly deserved. Furthermore, it was decreed that there should be no distinction between creed and nationality. Finally, Sir Fabian Ware, the Commission’s founder, explained that the cemeteries were constructed to last ‘in perpetuity’. Never before had the ordinary man been afforded such respect in death. Having established the simple but forward looking principles the challenge facing the Commission was to construct suitable resting places which adhered to these founding principles. I’m very fond of the Kipling quote who described the Commission’s task at their conception as ‘the biggest single bit of work since the Pharaohs and they only worked in their own country’

Whilst many people may only see a cemetery as just a place where the dead are laid to rest Egypt’s war cemeteries can be divided into distinct categories, each with their own individual histories.

Churchyard / Communal Cemeteries

These sites are usually extensions to existing civil cemeteries and often used for the earliest burials or on the grounds of religious preference where the opportunity existed to inter them in an already dedicated burial place.

Aswan Bandar British Cemetery

Alexandria (Chatby) Jewish Cemetery No 3

Alexandria (Chatby) British Protestant Cemetery

Cairo New British Protestant Cemetery

Old Cairo New Latin Cemetery

Port Said British Protestant Cemetery

Port Said Muhammadan Civil Cemetery

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Cadet Jack Valentine, RAF, Age 21, Alexandria (Chatby) Jewish Cemetery No 3, Egypt (Image Source: The South African War Graves project) 

‘Hospital’ Cemeteries / Concentration cemeteries

These larger sites are found further to the rear and often situated where the main dressing stations and casualty clearance stations were located. Detailed analysis often indicates an upsurge of burials after documented engagements. The layout tends to be regimented, in formal rows, and almost 100% of the interments are identified casualties. Interestingly, the Egyptian hospital cemeteries have been enlarged over time as burials were relocated from remote cemeteries where permanent maintenance would not have been possible on a longer term basis.

Abbaasiya Indian Cemetery

Alexandria (Chatby) Military and War Memorial Cemetery

Alexandria (Hadra) War Memorial Cemetery

Cairo War Memorial Cemetery

Fayid War Cemetery

Heliopolis War Cemetery

Kantara War Memorial Cemetery

Manara Indian Muhammadan Cemetery

Port Said War Memorial Cemetery

Suez War Memorial Cemetery

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Fayid War Cemetery, Egypt (Image Source: The Commonwealth War Graves Commission) 

Concentration Cemeteries

Concentration cemeteries are very large sites, constructed and enlarged over time when battlefields were cleared and isolated cemeteries closed. In some cases, concentration cemeteries were extensions of battlefield cemeteries and the earlier irregular pattern of burials can be easily identified in comparison to the concentration burials which tend to be regimented in their layout. The cemetery at El Alamein, with over 6,000 burials, is one notable example as it contains the consolidated graves of men who died at all stages of the Western Desert campaigns and were brought in from a wide area.

El Alamein War Cemetery

Halfaya Sollum War Cemetery

Ismailia War Memorial Cemetery

Moascar War Cemetery

Suez African and Indian Army War Cemetery

Tel el Kebir War Memorial Cemetery

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El Alamein War Cemetery, Egypt (Image Source: The Commonwealth War Graves Commission) 

Memorials 

The construction of Egypt’s memorials express the enormity of human sacrifice in wartime and commemorate Commonwealth servicemen who died during the First and Second World Wars and have no known grave. The Chatby Memorial commemorates almost 1,000 Commonwealth servicemen who died during the First World War and have no other grave but the sea. Many of them were lost when hospital ships or transports were sunk in the Mediterranean, sailing to or from Alexandria. Others died of wounds or sickness while aboard such vessels and were buried at sea.

Chatby Memorial

Alamein Memorial

Alamein Cremation Memorial

Fayid Memorial

Giza Memorial

Heliopolis (Aden) Memorial

Heliopolis (Port Tewfik) Memorial

Kantara Indian Cemetery memorial

Kantara Memorial

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The Chatby Memorial, Egypt (Image Source: The Commonwealth War Graves Commission) 

For further information on Egypt’s war cemeteries, opening times and locations please consult: http://www.cwgc.org/

Views of an Antique Land – Imaging Egypt and Palestine in the First World War

Cardiff University have received a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund to support the collection of images of Egypt and Palestine during the First World War. Their aim is to collect photographs taken by service personnel, postcards, lantern slides and stereoviews. They are not collecting the actual views but rather scans of them which, with the owners permission, will be uploaded to a dedicated website where anyone interested in seeing what their ancestors saw in Egypt during the First World War can access that information.

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A British Officer relaxes at one of Egypt’s many monuments

To mark the Centenary of the First World War, a series of roadshows in England and Wales along with the development of an interactive website will enable a team of volunteers to acquire and interpret copies of photographs taken in Egypt and Palestine by service personnel or bought by them as postcards and which can be dated to the First World War. The volunteers will receive training and develop skills in digital media and heritage presentation leading to a fuller interpretation of the First World War as a truly global conflict. Exhibitions, school workshops and a conference will provide opportunities for direct public participation in their heritage. The website will be a perpetual online learning resource offering new views of archaeological sites, military installations and cities as they appeared during the war.

Egyptologist, Professor of Archaeology at Cardiff University, Paul Nicholson said: “The histories of Britain and Egypt have long been intertwined. However, the place of Egypt during the First World War is often overlooked because of the focus on the Western Front. Egypt was a transit point for troops en route for the Dardanelles, an intelligence base for campaigns against the Ottoman Empire, and in particular the base from which the Palestine Campaign was launched. Up until now access to images relating to this theatre of conflict have been limited and information on how the region was seen by those who visited it, and who lived there, has often seemed inaccessible.”

With help from specialists, the information gathered will be digitally recorded and an online interactive archive will be created where everyone can access and contribute information. The archive will allow the public to discuss, contribute, share and research information about Egypt and Palestine in the First World War.

Further details on the project can be found here:

http://sites.cardiff.ac.uk/ww1imagesegypt/

Lieutenant Colonel Thomas John Todd C M G, D S O and Bar (Cairo War Memorial Cemetery)

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‘To my darling sister “Minnie” from Tom’ studio portrait of Lieutenant-Colonel Thomas John Todd, State Library of New Zealand 

Lieutenant-Colonel Thomas John Todd, a 41 year old Accountant and Boer War veteran from Newcastle Street, Perth, Western Australia, enlisted on the 2nd October 1914 into the 10th Light Horse Regiment. The 10th Light Horse  embarked from Fremantle, Western Australia aboard HMAT A47 Mashobra on the 8th February 1915 for Egypt.

Having actively participated at Gallipoli, the defence of the Suez Canal and subsequent campaigns in the Sinai the Light Horse were moved towards Palestine. Todd was wounded in action on the 19th April 1917 during the Second Battle of Gaza where the 10th suffered their heaviest casualties since Gallipoli. The regiment went onto take part in the Battle of Beersheba and the follow up actions that lasted until early January 1918.

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Group portrait of the Commanding Officer and Staff officers of the 3rd Australian Light Horse Brigade, Dec 1918, Front row: Second left, Col Thomas John Todd CMG DSO, The Australian War Memorial, B00812 refers

From this time onwards, for the next two months, the 10th Light Horse Regiment remained in continuous combat action until relieved for three months refit and training at Deir el Belah from early January 1918. In early April 1918, the 10th Light Horse Regiment moved into the Jordan Valley and took part in the invasion of Moab and took Es Salt during the action of 30 April – 4 May 1919.

Sadly, Lieutenant Colonel Todd, having lived through the Great War, fell ill and died in Cairo on the 23rd of January 1919. For his services, TODD was awarded the DSO and Bar, and CMG. He was laid to rest in the Cairo War Memorial Cemetery, plot Q. 263 after a full military funeral.

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Pallbearers carrying the coffin to the burial site at the funeral of the late Lieutenant Colonel Thomas John Todd CMG DSO, The Australian War Memorial, B00846 refers.

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Sounding the Last Post at the funeral of the late Lieutenant Colonel Thomas John Todd CMG DSO, The Australian War Memorial, B00845 refers.

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The floral tribute decked grave of Lieutenant Colonel Thomas John Todd CMG DSO, The Australian War Memorial, B00849 refers. 

Lieutenant Colonel William Albert Hazel CBE (Cairo War Memorial Cemetery)

Albert William Hazel, a graduate of Hertford College, Oxford was a long-served Inspector of the Egyptian Civil Service who was awarded the 3rd Class of the Turkish Order of Medjidie sometime prior to the Great War.

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Granted the local rank of Lieutenant-Colonel in the latter conflict, he was awarded the 3rd Class of the Egyptian Order of the Nile for his ‘valuable services’ (London Gazette 29 December 1916 refers), a civil O.B.E. (London Gazette 7 January 1918 refers), a mention in dispatches by General Allenby (London Gazette 16 January 1918 refers), and, finally, in June 1919, the C.B.E., this latter most probably in connection with his services as an Inspector of Recruiting.
Be that as it may, Hazel was no longer around to enjoy the latter appointment, having been murdered near Deirut on 24 March 1919, just a few days after several Europeans met a similar fate at the local railway station – the whole as a result of a violent uprising that resulted in death or injury to some 75 British citizens in the Spring and Summer of that year. He is believed to have been shot. The Colonel, who was aged 42 years, left a widow, Marie Sophia of Oaken, Wolverhampton.

Lt Col Hazel was buried in the Cairo War Memorial Cemetery, plot H. 46.

His medal group came up for sale in December 2012 via Dix Noonan Webb with an auction estimate of £700 – £900. A final sale price of £880 was reached, I hope they found an appreciative home.

‘A Great War C.B.E. group of six awarded to Lieutenant-Colonel A. W. Hazel, a General Staff Officer in the Ministry of Interior, Cairo, who was murdered in the uprising of March 1919.

The Most Excellent Order of the British Empire, C.B.E. (Military) Commander’s 1st type neck badge, silver-gilt and enamel; British War and Victory Medals, M.I.D. oak leaf (Lt. Col. A. W. Hazel); Egypt, Order of the Nile, 3rd Class neck badge, silver, silver-gilt and enamel; Turkey, Order of Medjidie, 3rd Class neck badge, gold, silver-gilt, silver and enamel, together with a gold locket with portrait photographs of the recipient as boy and man, and a Royal Artillery tie-pin, in gold and enamel, generally good very fine and better (7) £700-900′ 

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Sources:

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission

http://www.dnw.co.uk/auction-archive/catalogue-archive/lot.php?department=Medals&lot_id=88209

Major Herbert Bowen Hamlin DSO (Ismalia War Memorial Cemetery)

Herbert Bowen Hamlin, a Surveyors Assistant, of Narrogin, WA enlisted on the 28th October 1914 into the 10th Australian Light Horse. He embarked from Fremantle on HMAT Surada on 17 February 1915 with 204 men and 230 horses bound for Egypt.

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Studio portrait of Major Herbert Bowen Hamlin DSO, The Australian War Memorial, H00050A refers

After arriving in Egypt in March 1915 the 10th Light Horse set up camp at Mena near the Giza Pyramids and commenced their training. The regiment joined the 3rd Light Horse Brigade in Egypt and served dismounted at Gallipoli. The regiment’s most famous actions were the charge at the Nek on 7 August 1915, and Hill 60 on 29-30 August. After the withdrawal from Gallipoli in December 1915 the regiment was bought up to strength and re organised to defend Egypt from the Ottoman Army advancing on the Suez Canal.

A small notice from the Narrogin observer states that Herbert was wounded at Gallipoli and sent home on leave to recover from enteric fever (typhoid). Whilst most sources list him as unmarried he appears to have married Mary Grace Louch during his leave in Australia.

Herbert traveled back to the Middle East to rejoin his unit and through 1916 the Light Horse drove the Turks across the deserts of Sinai, participating in the battles of Romani and Magdhaba. In 1917 they were part of the Desert Column that advanced into Palestine. The regiment participated in the bloody battles to break the Gaza-Beersheba line and helped capture Jerusalem. They participated in the Es Salt Raid in May 1918. In August they were one of the regiments re-equipped with swords and rifle boots, and retrained to take a more orthodox cavalry role. In their new role they took part in the rout of the Ottoman army in the Jordan Valley, a campaign the light horse referred to as “The Great Ride”. In September the 10th Light Horse was the first formed regiment to enter Damascus.

In September 1918 Herbert was cited for a DSO after a cavalry charge during the battle of Jisr Benat Yakub:

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‘At Gisr Benat Yakub, on the 27th September, 1918, after forcing the ford, he led his squadron in the face of heavy fire, and charged against the enemy’s position, which he captured after a severe melee. He displayed great courage and dash, and throughout set a magnificent example to his command. Fifty enemy, with three machine guns and two field guns, were captured.’

Although eager to return to his wife and a baby daughter he had not yet seen Hebert remained in Egypt during the 1919 uprisings. In the absence of a large British force in Egypt, elements of the Australian and ANZAC Mounted Divisions, then awaiting embarkation to Australia, were instructed to restore order. Sadly, Herbert fell ill and died of acute pericarditis on the 30th May 1919. He was buried with full military honors in the Ismalia War Memorial Cemetery, plot C. 28.

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Sources:

‘Commonwealth Gazette’ No. 10, dated 29 January 1920

The Australian War Memorial

The Narrogin Observer (via Ancestry.co.uk)

http://www.nzwargraves.org.nz/casualties/herbert-bowen-hamlin

Embarkation Roll, Herbert Bowen Hamlin  https://www.awm.gov.au/people/rolls/R2050122/

Casualty Biographies and the work of the CWGC in Egypt

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission maintains 33 sites in Egypt commemorating the lives of over 42,000 servicemen and women in perpetuity. At the outbreak of the First World War, Cairo was headquarters to the United Kingdom garrison in Egypt. With Alexandria, it became the main hospital centre for Gallipoli in 1915 and later dealt with the sick and wounded from operations in Egypt and Palestine. General Headquarters, Middle East Command, was set up in Cairo shortly before the Second World War, remaining there throughout the war years.

The War Graves Commission has always believed in honoring all casualties equally, without distinction on account of rank, race or creed. In 1918, Sir Frederic Kenyon described his vision for the cemeteries as thus:

‘the general appearance of a British Cemetery will be that of an enclosure with plots of grass or flowers (or both) separated by paths of varying size, and set with orderly rows of headstones, uniform in both height and width. Shrubs and trees will be arranged in various places ….. The graves will, wherever possible face towards the east, and at the eastern end of the cemetery will be a great altar stone, raised upon broad steps, and bearing some brief and appropriate phrase or text. Either over the stone, or else where in the cemetery , will be a small building, where visitors may gather for shelter or for worship, and where the register of graves will be kept. And at some prominent spot will rise the Cross, as a symbol of the Christian faith and of the self sacrifice of the men who now lie beneath its shadow’ 

In any cemetery with over 40 graves you will find a Cross of Sacrifice, designed by the architect Sir Reginald Blomfield to represent the faith of the majority. Cemeteries with over 1,000 burials have a Stone of Remembrance, designed by the British Architect, Sir Edwin Lutyens to commemorate those of all faiths and none. Lutyens based the geometry of the structure on studies of the Parthenon and steered purposefully clear of shapes associated with particular religions. A uniform shape and style of headstone was decided upon in order to represent equality in death.

‘It was ordained that what was done for one was done for all, and that all, whatever their military rank or position in civilian life, should have equal treatment in their graves’ – Sir Frederic Kenyon, 1918 

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The Cairo War Memorial Cemetery

Headstones are made from a material sympathetic to both climate and ground conditions and in addition to a cross and personal inscription, have the soldiers name, regimental number, age (if supplied by the next of kin), date of death and the name and badge of the regiment or corps inscribed. Holders of the Victoria Cross have the medal inscribed on the stone.

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Private Samuel Needham VC, Kantara War Memorial Cemetery, Egypt 

The Cemeteries in Egypt are places of great beauty and character with planting schemes carefully chosen for the Egyptian climate and cemetery location. I would urge you to, where appropriate, see these places as they pay tribute to the lives of remarkable men and women. There is much work to be done to document casualty biographies as where possible, each of these men and women deserve to have a ‘face’ and their stories told. I am looking forward to sharing a selection of their stories with you.

Lieutenant Royston Kenilworth Sydney May

Date of Death: 16th May 1915

1st Bn, Australian Infantry, AIF

Cairo War Memorial Cemetery – Grave Ref B.251

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Informal outdoor portrait of four 1st Battalion officers. Identified left to right; Lieutenant (Lt) Royston Kennilworth Sydney May; Lt Herbert Gordon Carter; Captain Albert John Joseph George McGuire and Lt Philip Llewellyn Howell-Price, Image Source: The Australian War Memorial, P07973.016 

Royston Kenilworth Sydney May, a medical student from St Paul’s College at the University of Sydney passed away on the 16th of May in 1915 after sustaining a bullet wound to his left arm during the course of the Gallipoli landings. The battalion took part in the ANZAC landing on 25 April 1915 as part of the second and third waves, and served there until the evacuation in December.

‘Lieutenant Royston Kenilworth Sydney May, reported wounded, is the only son of Mr Sydney May, chemist, Manly. He was born in 1894, educated at King’s School, Parramatta, where he was a lieutenant in the school corps, and also the holder of the Burton Exhibition Scholarship. He afterwards joined the 34th Regiment, Newtown, with similar rank. When the war broke out Lieutenant May was in his second year of medicine at   St Andrew’s College, Sydney University. He was one of the fourteen King’s School cadets sent to the Indian Durbar, and formed one of the guard for King George during the picturesque and historic event. Lieutenant May took a keen interest in sport, and is a fine all-round athlete’ – Sydney Morning Herald, 10 May 1915.

He died of erysipelas as a result of his wound at No 1 General Hospital, Heliopolis, Egypt and was buried in the Cairo War Memorial Cemetery in Egypt.

Sources: 

http://mosman1914-1918.net/people/1825.html/

http://www.cwgc.org/