‘Bone’ up on your history

A ‘tail’ of a house and the emergence of a new breed of dog: the ‘Golden Retriever’, by Barbara Cornford.

In my role as a metadata assistant I have the joy of reading the personal diaries of many a well-known historical figure, the day to day joys, misery, shenanigans; in most cases written by persons from a very privileged strata of British society. I am currently working on the diaries of Lady Jean Hamilton. Through her wonderful writings I can share her day to day thoughts, actions and friendships – she is deliciously explanatory and self- aware, which engenders empathy from the reader.

I have a natural curiosity, it is not enough for me just to know that the object of my work stayed or visited with friends in this house or that house, I like to research to see if I can find out what the house looked like and if it still exists so that I can share a little of what has been described; the approach to such houses, their thoughts and opinions of the exterior and interior and the appreciation of the landscape surrounding them. One such house Lady Hamilton was invited to was Guisachan in Scotland as the guest of Lady Tweedmouth. In 1854 the Guisachan Estate was bought by Edward Dudley Coutts Marjoribank, who later in 1881 became Lord Tweedmouth.

 

Guisachan House

Another view of Guisachan House

Lord Tweedmouth had built lodges for visitors, kennels for his dogs, farm steads and importantly a new village which was called Tomich. He then began to move tenants from their crofts because they were too near the main house: they had no choice but to be relocated. The village was provided with a school, brewery and laundry.

Lord Tweedmouth was very interested in dogs of the hunting and sporting kind and at Guisachan he established a new breed. ‘Nous’, a wavy coated retriever, was bred with ‘Belle’ a Tweed Water spaniel: this created three yellow wavy-coated puppies which were named Primrose, Crocus [a male dog] and Cowslip – the first ‘Golden retrievers’ were born.

‘Nous’ photographed in old age

Nous in old age

Those Golden Retriever owners who are aware of the importance of Guisachan and Lord Tweedmouth go on an annual pilgrimage to what is left of the house and grounds in celebration of the breed. In July 2013, the Golden Retriever Club of Scotland hosted more than 350 people from 15 countries and 222 golden retrievers at a gathering on the Guisachan grounds. Not long afterwards, an organisation called the Friends of Guisachan [www.friendsofguisachan.org] raised money for a statue of a Golden Retriever at Guisachan to commemorate the achievement of Lord Tweedmouth.

Statue commemorating the establishment of the Golden Retriever breed

The GRCS will be hosting a ‘Guisachan Gathering’ in July 2018. The gathering will celebrate the 150th anniversary of the founding of the Golden Retriever breed at Guisachan House by Lord Tweedmouth. The event will begin on Monday 16th July 2018 and end with a Breed Championship Show at Cannich on Friday 20th July 2018.

guisachan-photo-shoot

To return to the house, it now lies as a ruinous shell, purchased and denuded of its contents, roof and anything of value. Open to the elements and almost totally destroyed, it shines like a beacon to those who know and love the breed called the Golden Retriever.

Ruins

MEMORIAL

 

Bibliography

Clan Marjoribanks Society website http://www.marjoribanks.net/lord-tweedmouths-golden-retrievers/

https://friendsofguisachan.org

Barbara Cornford

 

The Order of the Red Eagle and the German state visit to Britain, 1907

Kaiser Wilhelm signature, 1907On Monday the 11th of November, 1907 Kaiser Wilhelm II the German Emperor and King of Prussia arrived in Portsmouth aboard his imperial yacht, the SMY Hohenzollern, for a week-long visit to Britain. The Emperor was met by a welcoming partly consisting of the Prince of Wales, Lord Roberts, the German ambassador, and one Colonel Henry de Beauvoir De Lisle. The group headed directly to Windsor from the coastal city to be hosted by King Edward VII, Wilhelm’s Uncle and the eldest son of the late Queen Victoria.

De Lisle, who would later achieved the rank of General, had been invited to welcome the Kaiser and travel to Windsor due to his connection to the Prince and Princess of Wales and Mr Connaught, but described himself in a letter to his mother as, “the least important of anyone in the castle.”

Despite this, De Lisle’s collection of papers relating to the state visit provide an interesting insight into the visit and a personal story about how he was decorated by the Kaiser.

After arriving at Windsor De Lisle was greeted by the King who joked he did not recognise him as hitherto he had only seen De Lisle at formal occasions in his military uniform. What he did recognise though was that De Lisle was not wearing a German decoration for this occasion and asked him why that was the case, to which De Lisle replied that he did not have one.

On hearing this Edward VII said “I will tell the Emperor he must decorate you,” and De Lisle woke up the very next day to find he had been awarded the foreign honour of the Order of the Red Eagle by the Kaiser.

Above you will see the hand signed Order for De Lisle by the German Emperor, 16 November, 1907. De Lisle was given private permission by his Majesty to wear the Insignia of the Red Eagle at events with the presence of German Emperor or members of the royal family of Prussia.

By Adam Cox – Archives Assistant

13 Days: An Escape from a German Prison

While adding metadata to the album of photographs and ephemera of Brigadier John Alan Lyde Caunter (1889 – 1981) I became interested in the fact that during World War One he had escaped from captivity in a German prisoner of war camp. I would like his achievement to be brought to the fore through this blog as in 2017 it will be a century since he made ‘his great escape’.

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Our room at Crefeld camp (Caunter 92)

Captain (later Brigadier) John Alan Lyde Caunter of the 1st Battalion the Gloucestershire Regiment was taken prisoner during World War One by the Germans, captured at Gheluveld on the 31st October 1914 while on active service near Ypres. Upon capture he was confined in Crefeld prisoner of war camp and then with 400 other officers of differing nationalities moved to a camp at Schwarmstedlt, Hanover; eventually managing to escape in the summer of 1917.

During the journey to get back to England he met two other escapees, one of whom was Captain Fox D.S.O (an Irishman) of the Scots Guards. Together the two men managed to reach the Dutch frontier and safety – although during the last 24 hours they became separated. Upon their return to England on July 7th 1917 they were photographed together outside the Guards Club in the clothes they had worn during their hard won journey to freedom.

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Outside the Guards Club (Caunter 3 and Caunter 4)

On the 18th July 1917 both men were invited to Buckingham Palace for an hour long audience with King George V.

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Seeing the King (Caunter 15)

Captain Caunter wrote of his adventures in a book entitled 13 days an escape from a German prison, published in 1918, which also contained hand drawn illustrations by the author. The book is now out of copyright and can be downloaded free from various internet eBook providers for those that are interested in his story. The following is a review of the book copied from a newspaper cutting that was in an album of photographs and ephemera belonging to Caunter.

BRITISH OFFICER’S THIRTEEN DAYS JOURNEY TO FREEDOM

ESCAPE FROM GERMANY

Life and letters by J.C Squire published in Land and Water October 10th 1918.

“Captain Caunter was taken in 1914; he went to Crefeld and thence to Schwarmstedlt, in Hanover. His escape from the camp was extraordinarily ingenious and of the prolong nerve racking kind. He got on a top shelf in the parcels room, before the very eyes of a German; lay there, cramped and stifling, for hours; then stole out of the window while a sentry on each side turned his back. He crossed two rivers – there is a thrilling account of his wait by one bridge while the sentries carried on a conversation with two girls who seemed as though they would never go away and leave the men free to move or doze – and then, under a hedge, amazingly met two brother officers who had escaped after him. His chapters on the crossing of the Weser, the long walk along a railway track, and the final agonising wait in the marshes by the Dutch frontier, are wonderfully vivid; one’s heart stands still when a townful of dogs starts barking at him in the moonlight, and when Major Fox, an Irishman used to bogs, side-tracks the frontier guards into a morass. Major Fox slightly sketched is revealed as something of a Titan for strength and audacity. Captain Caunter’s exact wash drawings greatly elucidate his tales”.

Barbara Cornford

Sergeant Albert Rumbelow: the Royal Albert Hall connection

Albert Rumbelow

Albert Rumbelow

In 2014 I was working as usual adding metadata to the photographic images on the Serving Soldier database. The albums, paperwork and ephemera I annotated at the time were donated by the family of the late Major General Charles Howard Foulkes CB CMG DSO (1ST February 1875 – 6th May 1969) to the Liddell Hart Centre for Military Archives, a leading repository founded in 1964.

While adding metadata and keywords to the images the handwritten notes written by Major General Foulkes caught my eye. Underneath a photograph of a not so youthful moustachioed Sergeant were written the words ‘Sgt Rumbelow 4 Platoon A company, 7th RB at Arras March 1916, DCM Gazette 6.6.16.’

I am not a researcher but curiosity caught hold of me and I decided to do a quick internet search firstly to find out what a DCM was (part of the learning curve when working with photographs of the Military so that I can give correct information) then to see if I could find out more about this rather more mature soldier who looked quite hauntingly tired as he gazed into the camera lens.

Upon entering his name, I was directed to a website dedicated to holding information about ‘fallen’ military personnel of Buckinghamshire http://buckinghamshireremembers.org.uk. Low and behold there was a record of Sergeant Rumbelow with details of his name, regiment, where he enlisted, where he died and the location of the memorial on which his name is displayed. I took it upon myself to send an email to the person who ran the website to ask if they had a photograph of Sergeant Rumbelow, in actuality they had all of his information but didn’t possess a picture of him. I forwarded a photograph and was met with a lovely response ‘I just cannot thank you enough for helping me to discover the full details of this brave man, I would never have discovered these extra details’.

My discoveries did not stop there: from the information I had gleaned I then knew that Albert Rumbelow worked at the Royal Albert Hall as a cleaner and hall attendant; he was one member of a quarter of the staff employed at the Royal Albert Hall who volunteered to fight during World War I, enlisting in 1914 at the age of 35 leaving behind a wife and four children. I contacted the organisers of an exhibition planned at the Royal Albert Hall in which I knew that Sergeant Albert Rumbelow was mentioned and asked if they would like a photograph of him. The response was they would because they did not have one.

In the summer of 1916 (we know it was in June) Albert gained the Distinguished Conduct Medal for ‘Conspicuous Gallantry’. His citation reads that he ‘exposed himself to machine gun and shell fire when going across the open to rescue a wounded man. Later he went under fire to fetch a stretcher’.

Albert was returned to England badly injured and died two months before Armistice Day in a military hospital in Ashford, Kent, at the age of 39. He was one of the few soldiers to be buried on English soil because the government had taken the decision not to repatriate the bodies of those killed in battle. His grave is located in the churchyard of St Peter Parish Church, Aylesford Kent and his name is alongside many others on the War Memorial at High Wycombe Hospital.

Barbara Cornford

 

Eric Garrad-Cole- The Undercover Italian

Eric Garrad-ColePhotograph of Mario Monti

In the photographs above you can see Wing Commander of the RAF Eric Garrad-Cole and Mario Monti. The keen eyed amongst you will notice not only a resemblance, but that they are, in fact, the same person. Garrad-Cole was universally known as ‘Garry’ throughout his life, though thankfully for this fugitive during his time in Axis controlled Italy, only a select few knew Mario Monti as anything other than Mario.

Garrad-Cole was an Italian prisoner of war (PoW), between 1940 and 1943, after the skilled bomber pilot was shot down over Libya in 1940. After many unsuccessful escape attempts he finally got away as Italy surrendered to the Allies and Germany occupied the country.

Still in Italy, following his escape Garrad-Cole joined the ‘Rome Organisation’, a group that set about helping other escaped Allied PoWs, for the remainder of the war. This is when Garrad-Cole disguised himself as Mario Monti- growing a pencil moustache and wearing glasses. It is up to you how convincing you find this deception, however, keep in mind his masquerade certainly was effective.

During the remainder of his time in Rome, with the help of other escapees, the ‘Rome Organisation’ and Garrad-Cole helped approximately 3000 PoWs. All this was achieved while under the constant threat of his identity being revealed and being discovered. Despite several close calls Garrad-Cole managed to stay undercover until the Allied victory.

After the War ended, having returned to Great Britain, Garrad-Cole was awarded the Military Cross (MC) in 1944 for his actions. In 1955, the Wing Commander turned author as he published ‘Single to Rome’ detailing his unique and fascinating tale.

By Adam Cox- Archives Assistant

[Information sourced from Times Obituary 2003 and accessioned materials]

A general election and a new world order

This is the seating plan for a formal dinner for the Potsdam conference attendees, hosted by Winston Churchill, 23 July 1945, signed by the attendees, including Churchill himself, Harry S Truman, and (on the cover) Joseph Stalin.

Churchill is shown as Prime Minister, because although the UK general election had already been held on 5 July, the results were not counted and declared until 26 July, since many voters were still on overseas service. Three days later, Attlee (seated three to the right of Churchill) was the new British Prime Minster.

This item comes from the personal papers of Field Marshal Viscount Alanbrooke, who as Chief of the Imperial General Staff for most of World War Two was Churchill’s chief military adviser. In his diary he wrote of the evening: ‘It was a good dinner with an RAF band, rather spoilt by continuous speeches.  …. After dinner we had the menus signed up and I went round to ask Stalin for his signature, he turned round, looked at me, smiled very kindly and shook me warmly by the hand before signing.  After the band playing all the national anthems we went off to bed.’

The Korean War

These photographs are part of recent accessions to the Liddell Hart Centre for Military Archives, and were taken by Lt Col Dr Keith Glennie-Smith and Lt Col Anthony Younger, whilst in service during the Korean War. The collections include a number of colour slides from which these photographs have been taken from, and subsequently published in a catalogue, ‘And Life Goes On 1953’, to accompany an exhibition at the Seoul National University Museum in 2007.

Both clearly have a keen eye for photography, and have managed to capture an array of snapshots providing a unique insight into the daily lives of Koreans during the War by documenting local rural life, markets and landscapes, as well as of British military personnel and soldiers of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army.

These are just a selection of the fascinating photographs, and the rest of the digital copies can be viewed in our reading room. For further information on arranging an appointment, please take a look at our website: http://www.kcl.ac.uk/library/collections/archivespec/visiting/index.aspx

‘Diary of development of British respirator’, 1915-1919

Gallery

This gallery contains 6 photos.

Selected by Patricia Methven, Director of Archives & Information Management What: ‘Diary of development of British respirator’, 1915-1919. Why: Albeit visually dull, this six page text charts British attempts to protect millions of men from the initially disabling, eventually lethal, … Continue reading