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Ralph Oscar GLADSTONE

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Surname: GLADSTONE

Forename(s): Ralph Oscar

Place of Birth: Cardiff, Glamorgan

Service No: ---

Rank: T/2nd Lieutenant

Regiment / Corps / Service: Royal Engineers

Battalion / Unit: 421st (West Lancashire) Field Coy

Division: 57th (2/West Lancashire) Division

Age: 27

Date of Death: 1917-11-02

Awards: ---

CWGC Grave / Memorial Reference: VI. B. 7.

CWGC Cemetery: BARD COTTAGE CEMETERY

CWGC Memorial: ---

Non-CWGC Burial: ---

Local War Memorial: CROSSHILLS, YORKSHIRE

Local War Memorial: KILDWICK, YORKSHIRE

Additional Information:

Ralph Oscar Gladstone was the son of Ralph Atchison and Martha Gladstone, née Hill. Ralph senior was born at Holyhead, Anglesey, Wales and Martha at Crosshills, Yorkshire.

1891 Newport, Monmouthshire Census: 5, Widsor Terrace - Ralph O. Gladstone, aged 1 year, born Cardiff, Glamorgan, son of Ralph A. and Martha Gladstone.

1901 Crosshills, Yorkshire Census: 20, Ashville Terrace - Ralph O. Gladstone, aged 11 years, born Cardiff, Glamorgan, son of Martha Gladstone, widow.

1911 Crosshills, Yorkshire Census: 20, Ashville Terrace - Ralph Oscar Gladstone, aged 21 years, born Cardiff, Glamorgan, son of Martha Gladstone, widow.

Ralph was married to Ruby Mabel Virgo in 1916.

British Army WW1 Medal Rolls Index Cards: L/Cpl Ralph Oscar Gladstone, 7006 & Sgt 387006 & 2/Lt Royal Engineers. Theatre of War first served in (1) [France]. Date of entry therein: 13 December 1914. Commissioned: 20 April 1917. Correspondence: Widow. Mrs. Symonds, 2, Maple Villas, Cline Street, Hereford.

Data Source: Cravens Part in the Great War - original CPGW book entry

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Entry in West Yorkshire Pioneer Illustrated War Record:

GLADSTONE, Second Lieutenant Ralph Oscar, [Crosshills], aged 27, R.E., killed in action Nov. 2, 1917.

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T/2nd Lieutenant Ralph Oscar GLADSTONE

T/2nd Lieutenant Ralph Oscar GLADSTONE

Regiment / Corps / Service Badge: Royal Engineers

Regiment / Corps / Service Badge: Royal Engineers

Divisional Sign / Service Insignia: 57th (2/West Lancashire) Division

Divisional Sign / Service Insignia: 57th (2/West Lancashire) Division

Data from Soldiers Died in the Great War 1914 - 1919 Records

Soldiers Died Data for Soldier Records

Surname: GLADSTONE

Forename(s): Ralph Oscar

Born:

Residence:

Enlisted:

Number:

Rank: 2/Lt (TP)

Regiment: Corps of Royal Engineers

Battalion:

Decorations:

Died Date: 02/11/17

Died How: Killed in action

Theatre of War:

Notes: (421 W. Lancs Fld Co)

Data from Commonwealth War Graves Commission Records

CWGC Data for Soldier Records

Surname: GLADSTONE

Forename(s): Ralph Oscar

Nationality: United Kingdom

Service Number:

Rank: 2nd Lieutenant

Regiment: Royal Engineers

Unit: West Lancashire Field Coy

Age: 27

Awards:

Died Date: 1917-11-02

Additional Information: Son of Ralph Atchison Gladstone, of Newport Mon. and of Mrs. Gladstone of Crosshills, nr. Keighley, Yorks.; husband of Ruby Mabel Symonds (formerly Gladstone), of 14, Broseley Avenue, Didsbury, Manchester.

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Obituary from ‘The Keighlian’ the School Magazine of Keighley Boys’ Grammar School

(Courtesy of kbgs.com)

RALPH OSCAR GLADSTONE

2nd Lieutenant. Royal Engineers.

Ralph O. Gladstone attended School from September, 1902, to December, 1905. He also passed through the Mechanical and Electrical Engineering Departments of the Technical School. He served his apprenticeship with the Keighley Electrical Company, and afterwards obtained a post as Erector for the British Thomson, Houston Co., Ltd., Rugby. In this capacity he had charge of the erection of new plant not only in the United Kingdom but also on the Continent. In 1913 he was engaged in putting electrical power into some sulphur mines at Huelva, near Seville, in Spain. Huelva was the port from which Columbus sailed to discover the New World, and Ralph Gladstone’s stay at this place was full of interest to him.

At the outbreak of War he joined the Army as a Sapper in the Royal Monmouth Royal Engineers, and crossed to France in November, 1914. He spent Christmas, 1914, in the trenches before Ypres, and when the Canadians made their brilliant stand at that place, Ralph Gladstone was engaged in helping to keep a bridge intact across the Ypres Canal. A body of Germans broke through the lines and managed to reach the bridge, where they were met by the Engineers armed with spades and any tools they could find. During the unequal hand-to-hand combat Ralph Gladstone, armed only with a trenching tool received a bayonet thrust in the chest which put him out of action for some time. Shortly after his return to the firing line he suffered from concussion caused by the bursting of a shell at the door of his dug-out and was afterwards wounded whilst mending barbed-wire entanglements. After spending some months in hospital he returned to Monmouth as Sergeant and Instructor in bayonet practice. He returned to France and was promoted to the position of acting Sergeant-Major. In January, 1917, he returned to England to take up a Commission in the Royal Engineers and went back as an Officer to Ypres, where, on November 3rd, 1917, he was killed by a shell within half a mile of the place where he had fought so bravely in the great battle of Ypres in 1914.

Such is the brief account of the career in this War of one of our bravest Old Boys. Although repeatedly wounded Ralph Gladstone’s spirit was unconquerable and the memory of his gallant services should always remain as a cherished tradition in the School of which he was always proud to call himself a member. We all extend our respectful sympathy to his mother, Mrs. Gladstone, and to his brother and sisters, who have suffered so great a loss.

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09 July 1915

CROSSHILLS SOLDIER WOUNDED IN ACTION – THE BRAVE MONMOUTHS FIGHT WITH SHOVEL

News has been received by the family who reside at Ashville Holme Lane, Crosshills, to say that Corporal Ralph O. Gladstone, of the Monmouthshire Royal Engineers, has been wounded in the thigh by a piece of shrapnel. The wound is fortunately not of a serious nature.

Corporal Gladstone left Crosshills some four years ago to take up a position at Messes. British Thomson-Houston Co., electrical engineers and manufacturers, of Rugby, and joined the army in October of last year, being sent out to France in December. The ‘Brave Monmouths,’ as they have been deservedly called, have been in the thick of the fighting since they went out to France, and as a regiment have borne themselves with conspicuous gallantry in many hot engagements.

In one of his letters home, Corp. Gladstone tells of an experience which he had at the famous fight for Hill 60. Together with an officer in his battalion, they were ordered to enter the German lines as best they could and blow up a railway line by which the Germans got their ammunition, etc., to the firing line. This difficult task they safely accomplished, and Corp. Gladstone may well be proud of his share in such a perilous undertaking.

Writing recently to a lady relative at Newport, he said:– “I am afraid you must prepare for bad news. I wish you to understand, and all Newport people to appreciate, the fact that they have reason to be more than proud of the 1st Monmouth Regiment. In yesterday's battle (May) they held a most difficult position against two of the most terrible agencies of modern warfare - gases and a hellish bombardment of Johnson and shrapnel. We do not fear death here, and your gallant Terriers went on the longest march of all yesterday as only Englishmen can.

“Col. Robinson and the senior major, I believe, are amongst the dead; Major Evill and Capt. Williams are missing. I think, and I believe, Capt. Stanton, Mostyn Llewellyn, Desmond Murphy, and Cotrell are wounded. This information I had from ----- (censored), one of the officers whom I brought down to a safe place. He thought he was one of three officers left, and said he did not think more than 200 men had come out. We were building pontoon bridges close behind the Germans under a terrible fire of shrapnel and big shells. To-day we are resting and tonight we have to go up to the position lost yesterday and reconstruct the trenches and barbed wire. One of the officers killed was a Monmouthshire county cricketer, and they say he was an exceptionally brave fellow. We have been in the firing line with the Canadians in the recent big fight, when the Germans broke through. We were charging with the infantry, but instead of using bayonets, we simply slaughtered them with our shovels. I had a felling axe for cutting trenches through a wood.”

Corpl. Gladstone expects to be able to visit his family before going back to the Front.

09 November 1917

GLADSTONE – November 2nd 1917, killed in action, Ralph Oscar Gladstone, Second-Lieut. R.E., elder son of the late Ralph Atchison Gladstone, of Newport, Mon., and Mrs. Gladstone, Crosshills, aged 27 years.

09 November 1917

CROSSHILLS – LIEUTENANT RALPH OSCAR GLADSTONE KILLED

Mrs. Gladstone, of Holme Road, Crosshills, received a telegram from the War Office on Wednesday morning informing her that her brother, Second-Lieutenant Ralph O. Gladstone, of the Royal Engineers, had been killed in action on the 2nd November in France. Official word was received in the evening confirming the sad news. Lieutenant Gladstone was very well known in Crosshills, and was for a time in pre-war days in the local Territorials. Shortly before the outbreak of war he was working in Spain for the British Thomson, Houston Co., of Rugby, and immediately on the outbreak of hostilities he joined the Royal Engineers as a private and went out before Christmas 1914 to France. He was wounded at the first battle of Ypres, and for the second time about two years age. He was in hospital at Glasgow, and after his discharge from hospital he was for a time a gymnastic instructor in Monmouthshire. He came home from the Front in January of this year to take up a commission in the Royal Engineers, and went out on August 6th last. He had been chosen for work in the Royal Engineers because of his special knowledge of bridge building. He had been offered a commission on two previous occasions. He is an old Keighley Grammar School boy, and was keenly interested in the Boy Scout movement, starting the Kildwick Church Troop of Boy Scouts. He would have been 28 years of age if he had lived until the 3rd November. He leaves a widow. Much sympathy is felt for his widowed mother in the loss of her eldest boy, who was a fine example of British manhood. His sister, Miss G. Gladstone, is being trained as nurse in a surgical hospital in Accrington.

16 November 1917

CROSSHILLS – THE LATE LIEUT. R. O. GLADSTONE

Mrs. Gladstone has received two splendid tributes to the worth of her husband, Lieut. Ralph Oscar Gladstone, who was killed in action on the 2nd November, as reported in our last issue.

Lieut. Gilbert Rayner, Royal Engineers, writes:– “Dear Mrs. Gladstone, – I scarcely know how to explain to you the deep feeling of sympathy I have for you at the loss of your brave husband. At the time sympathy is of so little avail, but I thought it might be some comfort to you to know how highly he was esteemed and loved by all of us, his brother officers, and not less by his N.C.O.s, and men too. He was indeed in the old trite phrase ‘a very gallant officer’. It will, I know, be some relief to you to know that his end must have been instantaneous and painless, and that we were able to make a coffin and give him a simple military funeral in a cemetery only two or three miles from where he received his baptism of fire in 1914. We are erecting a white cross over his grave, and I hope to get the Graves Registration people to send you a photograph of the grave. If there is anything further that I can do for you to help you in any way, I shall be only too glad if you will let me know. I pray that you may be given strength to bear the sore trials that you have been through, and have got to bear.”

Major J. L. Licker’s letter reads:– “Dear Mrs. Gladstone, – It is with very deep regret that I have to inform you that your husband was killed in action early yesterday morning, 2nd November. He was killed by shell. We recovered his body, and he is being buried in a British cemetery behind the lines. The position of the grave and a photograph of it can be obtained from the Graves Registration Union. His loss to the Company is a very great one, as not only have we lost a very gallant and efficient officer, but we all feel that we have lost a great friend, who was beloved by the men, and by his brother officers. His cheerfulness was an inspiration to the men under him, and to the whole company. The fact that your husband laid down his life for his King and Country may lessen somewhat the great grief which has befallen you. All his brother officers join me in conveying to you our deepest sympathy in your sad bereavement.”

23 November 1917

CROSSHILLS – THE LATE LIEUTENANT GLADSTONE

We reproduce a photograph of the late Lieut. Ralph Oscar Gladstone, late of Crosshills, whose death in action on November 2nd last was reported in our issues of the 9th and 16th inst.

04 July 1919

PEACE SUPPLEMENT TO THE 'CRAVEN HERALD' – CRAVEN'S FALLEN OFFICERS

SECOND-LIEUT. RALPH O. GLADSTONE

Royal Engineers, of Holme Road, Crosshills, killed in action November 2nd, 1917, aged 27 years.

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16 November 1917

GLADSTONE – Killed in action in France, 2nd Lieut. Ralph O. Gladstone, of the Royal Engineers, of Crosshills, aged 27.

16 November 1917

CROSSHILLS

DEATH OF LIEUT. RALPH O. GLADSTONE

Miss Gladstone, of Crosshills, has received a telegram from the War Office stating that her elder brother, 2nd Lieut. Ralph Oscar Gladstone, of the Royal Engineers, had been killed in action in France. The deceased joined the Royal Engineers at the outbreak of war, and went to France in the winter of 1914, and was severely wounded in the chest in the first battle of Ypres. The Royal Engineers were keeping a bridge over the canal, when the Germans broke through the lines. Here the Engineers had a stand-up fight with the enemy using their picks, spades, etc. It was at this time that Lieut. Gladstone received a bayonet thrust. He was wounded again about two years ago with shrapnel in the thigh and leg. He was some time in a Glasgow War Hospital, after which he went to Monmouthshire as an army gymnastic instructor. Subsequently he was made a sergeant and later took up a commission and returned to France in August last. He was chosen for special work in the Engineers because of his knowledge of bridge building. He was an old Keighley Grammar School boy. He was closely connected with the Boy Scout movement, being the founder of the Kildwick troop. He was for some time in the Territorials. At the outbreak of war he was in Spain for the British Thompson Houston Co., of Rugby. Previous to accepting the commission in the Royal Engineers he had been offered a commission in the infantry. He was 37 years of age. He leaves a widow. His sister, Miss G. Gladstone, is being trained as a nurse at Accrington.

Mrs. Gladstone, the widow of Lieut. R.O. Gladstone, has received the following letter:–

“Dear Mrs. Gladstone, – It is with very deep regret that I have to inform you that your husband was killed in action early yesterday morning, Nov. 2nd, 1917. He was killed by shell. I received his dead body, which is being buried in the British cemetery behind the lines. The position of the grave and the photo of it can be obtained from the Grave Registration Union, B.E.F., France. His loss to the company is a very great one. Not only have we lost a very gallant and efficient officer, but we all feel that we have lost a great friend, which is felt by the men and his brother officers. His cheerfulness was an inspiration to the men under him and to the whole company. The fact that your husband laid down his life for his King and country may lessen somewhat the great grief which has befallen you. All his brother officers join me in conveying to you our deepest sympathy in your sad bereavement. – Yours sincerely, J.L. Lecker, Major, R.E.”

Lieut. Gilbert Raynor has also written a letter of sympathy, also stating that Lieutenant Gladstone was buried only two or three miles from where he received his baptism of fire in 1914.

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