On 20 May 1928, ninety years ago this year, Captain John Patrick Danny died at his home at 68 Gunton Road in Clapton. His premature death was attributed to the poor health that he suffered as a result of his war service, but another factor that may have contributed was the stress and strain he experienced while organising and trying to raise money for Chums of The Old Contemptibles Association to make a pilgrimage to Mons in November 1927.
Captain John Patrick Danny R.A. and The Old Contemptibles’ Association
Born at Stepney in 1878, John Danny was employed as a garage foreman when he was mobilised from the Reserve at the outbreak of the war, and as 82558 Sergeant J. P. Danny landed in France with XXXIII Brigade, Royal Field Artillery on 6 November 1914. He was commissioned on 1 November 1915 and was issued with his 1914 Star on 18 October 1919, the clasp and roses were forwarded to him on 18 May 1920.
It was Danny who conceived the idea of creating an association of those who had served with the British Expeditionary Force in 1914, and who were holders of the 1914 Star with clasp, and on 25 May 1925 he and six other “Old Contemptibles” met at the Hackney United Services Club at Clapton to discuss the formation of such a group. The first general meeting of The Old Contemptibles Association took place on 28 June, and Captain Danny was elected as treasurer. Members of the new Association were to be known as “Chums,” irrespective of their rank, and only those who were holders of the 1914 Star with the clasp – in reality a bar to be sewn onto the ribbon of the medal – that indicated that individuals had “served under fire or who had operated within range of enemy mobile artillery in France or Belgium during the period between 5 August and 22 November 1914” would be eligible to join. The Association was presented with its first banner by Lady Amherst of Hackney later that year.
In May 1926, The Old Contemptibles Association held its first parade, assembling on the Embankment before laying a wreath at the Cenotaph. The first Grand Council of the Association was formed in July 1926, with Captain Danny being elected as Chairman, and on 6 August the Chief of the Imperial General Staff, General Sir George F. Milne, who had been the Commander Royal Artillery of 4th Division in 1914, became the first President.
It was decided to expand the Association in June 1927 other branches began to be formed around the country, the first being at Woolwich. In August the Grand Council of The Old Contemptibles Association decided that the new branches would be issued dispensations to carry their own standards, but unlike the one presented by Lady Amherst these would be mounted on a single pole and the finial would bear the badge of the Association.
The General Council of The Old Contemptibles Association determined that their embryonic group should make arrangements for a pilgrimage to Mons, the scene of the first clash between the British Expeditionary Force and the German Army in 1914, and also to Brussels. While an itinerary for the pilgrimage was agreed with the Belgian authorities, it was originally hoped to take between 600 and 700 Old Contemptibles to Belgium, but this number was subsequently halved. While those Chums who could pay their fare for the trip would be asked to do so, it was clear that many men were unable to afford to and that they would need financial support if they were to do so. General Milne made a public appeal at the meeting for donations, while Captain Danny clarified why the funds were needed:
“We want to take as many real ‘Old Contemptibles’ as possible. First, we want to consider the Victoria Cross men. There are seven of them, and only a few can pay their own fares. Next will come the blind, and the remainder of available places made possible by contribution will be decided by ballot. We hope to take men from every city in the British Isles.”
The Surrey Mirror of 28 October included an article regarding the appeal:
“OLD CONTEMPTIBLES” VISIT TO MONS.
“Captain J. P. Danny, chairman of the grand council of the Old Contemptibles’ Association, states that a great number of applications have been received from “Old Contemptibles” who wish to go on a pilgrimage to Mons. The grand council have undertaken to organise a pilgrimage. It is intended that on Armistice Day the “Old Contemptibles” should observe the Great Silence standing on the actual ground of their first engagement, facing as they did in August, 1914. A solemn tribute will be paid to the “Old Contemptibles” who sacrificed their lives, and to those who so nobly carried on the traditions of the old Army. On the Sunday following there will be a drumhead service in the field where the first “Old Contemptible” fell. The grand council feel that if only men who can pay their own fares take part in the pilgrimage it will not be representative of the nation. They, therefore, appeal for funds sufficient to send at least 300, including the earliest V.C.’s, of those who cannot afford the expense. All contributions will be gratefully acknowledged by Capt. Danny at 69, Powerscroft-road, E.5.”
The urgent need for donations was commented on in an editorial piece published in The Western Daily Press of 31 October:
“It will be a thousand pities if the scheme for a pilgrimage of “Old Contemptibles” to Mons on Armistice Day should fall through for lack of financial support. The Old Contemptibles Association, in the very nature of things, will tend to die out, and there are a good many of the men who are entitled to the distinction of membership who cannot afford the expenses of the fares, and so on. It is estimated that a sum of round about £700 would be required, and surely it ought not to be impossible to raise that amount during the next fortnight.”
From the very start the appeal met with a disappointing response, which was further compounded by the news that The Prince of Wales, who had been was invited to join the Old Contemptibles on their pilgrimage, was unable to attend due to prior commitments. However, the newly-formed Hull Branch of The Old Contemptibles Association received significant support from one benefactor, Major Clifford Harrison Stringer, and an acknowledgement of his contribution was published by The Hull Daily Mail on 3 November:
HULL AND DISTRICT OLD CONTEMPTIBLES’ ASSOCIATION.
TO THE EDITOR.
“Sir, – May I be allowed through the medium of your paper to state that Major C. H. Stringer, an Old Contemptible Officer of the Waterloo Main Collieres, near Leeds, has kindly presented our Association with a cheque for £60, so as to enable some of our members to take part at no cost to themselves in the pilgrimage to Mons on November 11th, 12th and 13th.
Will all our members please try to attend the general meeting on Friday next at 7.45 p.m. sharp to discuss the matter. Thanking you very much in anticipation. – I am, Sir, etc.,
J. E. BARNBY
(Acting for the Hon. Sec.).
Raywell Hotel, Cumberland-street,
Hull, November 1st, 1927.”
The donation made by Major Stringer, and the poor response to the appeal made by The Old Contemptibles Association for funds, was also commented on in another letter sent to the Editor of The Hull Daily Mail that was published a week later:
“SIR, – In the “Mail” cross top column this evening was an admission of failure in the attempt to secure funds to cover the expenses of sending 300 “Old Contemptibles” to Mons for Armistice Day and therefore only half the number will be able to make the pilgrimage even those – I believe I am correct in stating – are drawn from the Metropolitan area. Why so ghastly a failure for so worthy a cause? Is it that the nation is losing its tradition of being open-hearted to worthy causes? It is that these men must consider themselves sufficiently well treated by receiving the Almighty’s deliverance? Or is it that the Nation is too poor to allow the tapping of its pockets any further?
Hardly the last mentioned reason, for I have before me a copy of a weekly paper stating that arrangements have already been made for a pilgrimage to France and Flanders next year in which 5,000 men will take part and that this number may be greatly added to. Such being so, why, one is prompted to reiterate, could funds not be found to take 300?
It is pleasing to note that the London party of 150 men will be augmented by a small body from Hull and I feel compelled to add that this has only been made possible through the benevolence of Major Stringer, who, on learning that so far was known no Yorkshiremen were taking part in the pilgrimage, promptly made out a cheque for £60 and this he handed to the Secretary (Mr E. M. Adams) of the Hull and District Contemptibles that they might be represented at Mons entirely at his expense.
Had the London movement been supported by men of Major Stringer’s type, few, if any, disappointments would have been met. The response to the Metropolitan Fund makes one wonder if it really is a land fit for heroes to live in. – I am, Sir, etc.,
Hull, 7th November, 1927.”
On the eve of the departure of the Old Contemptibles to Belgium, it was clear that the appeal to the public for donations had failed, and that there was a significant financial shortfall that would need to be recovered from another source. Captain Danny remarked that:
“The response to our appeal has been most disappointing. No one seems to care. At present we have collected exactly £174 2s. 6d., practically all in small amounts of 2s. 6d. and 5s. Another £500 is required.”
The deficit, which amounted to over £400, was covered personally by Captain Danny who remortgaged his home at 68 Gunton Road in order to ensure that the debt was repaid.
The Pilgrimage: 10 to 12 November 1927
On Thursday 10 November, 212 “Old Contemptibles” arrived at Victoria Station in London to take the boat train to Ostend at the start of their pilgrimage. The Dundee Evening Telegraph reported on the assembly of the Chums:
“Victoria Cross men fall in on the right.”
This was the cry that rang out in Victoria Station, London, this morning, and from a large group of men three figures stepped out smartly and took up their places.
“Fall in everybody,” was the next command, and the 212 members of the Old Contemptibles Association – heroes every one – who formed the pilgrimage to Mons, took up their places as if they were on the parade ground.
It was a wonderful spectacle to see them move off. There was no band, by special request. There were blind men, cripples, and every member wore his medals. There was an abundance of distinguished decorations, which told their own tale of valour in the darkest days of the war.”
The vast majority of the Chums who paraded on the station platform that morning came from in and around London, but Old Contemptibles from other parts of the country had managed to obtain financial support in order to make the journey back to Belgium. Among them were eleven Chums of the Hull Branch of The Old Contemptibles Association who had their expenses covered by the donation made by Major Clifford Harrison Stringer, who also accompanied the party. Five more Chums from Yorkshire were also reported to have made the trip south. Thomas Henry Seager D.C.M., who in 1914 served with the 1st Battalion, The King’s Royal Rifle Corps, was also present at Victoria that morning, and his war service was recounted by The Hampshire Telegraph on 11 November:
TO JOIN THE MEN’S PILGRIMAGE.
“Ex-Private (sic) Thomas Seager, 1st King’s Royal Rifles, of Botley, who has accepted the invitation of the “Old Contemptibles” Association to join the Mons Pilgrimage leaving London on November 10, holds a fine record of war service. He had the proud distinction of being one of the first men in the British Army to be decorated on the field with the Distinguished Conduct Medal by H.M. the King when he was in France, and afterwards going before the Prince of Wales to have the medal ribbon pinned upon his tunic. He was twice captured by the enemy but made good his escape. Rifleman Seager was also recommended for the French Medalle Militaire for a brave deed rendered to the Allies, which undoubtedly saved a battery of French artillery, which was secreted in a wood, from capture or destruction by the enemy, but the medal was never awarded. He was five times specially mentioned by his officers for good services. Private Seager, who was born at Alverstoke, and is now employed as a postman in the Botley rural district.”
Three holders of the Victoria Cross formed part of the contingent of Chums: Sid Godley V.C., who had earned his decoration at Nimy on 23 August 1914 with the 4th Battalion, The Royal Fusiliers; Job Drain V.C., who had served with 37th (Howitzer) Battery, Royal Field Artillery and was one of three members of the battery who had been awarded the Victoria Cross for their actions during the Battle of Le Cateau on 26 August 1914; and Spencer John Bent V.C., M.M., who was a Regimental Sergeant-Major when he retired from the Army in 1926 and received his honour for several actions that he had performed between October and November 1914 while serving with the 1st Battalion, The East Lancashire Regiment, most notably at Le Gheer on the night of 1/2 November 1914 when he took charge of a platoon though at the time he held the appointment of Drummer.
Also among the party were a few disabled ex-servicemen, including George Bennett A.M., who had served with the 12th (Prince of Wales’s) Royal Lancers in 1914 and was awarded the Albert Medal 2nd Class, for Gallantry in Saving Life on Land, for rescuing a French woman who had been knocked down by a train at Brie on 25 February 1918. During the course of his rescue, Bennett was hit by a train and was severely injured, having to have his left leg amputated below the knee and his right leg above. Two blind Old Contemptibles also accompanied the group. William England, who came from Oxfordshire, had joined the Coldstream Guards on 29 May 1899 and had been severely wounded in the head near Ypres in 1914 while serving with the 3rd Battalion. He had been discharged as physically unfit for service on 1 October 1915 due a cerebral hernia. Another soldier, identified as Macmillan or McMullen in different press reports, was quoted as saying: “I am looking forward to the visit. I shall see everything again although I have lost my sight. I am delighted to know that my old pals are around me.” He added: “Even if we can’t see, we shall be able to imagine what Mons looks like. It’s worth going for. It’ll bring back the old times to us again.”
Standing on the platform at Victoria Station was Captain John Danny, who had been advised against travelling by his doctor. When asked by a reporter why he was not able to go with the Chums on the pilgrimage, Danny replied: “If I go, there will probably be a funeral.”
After a rough crossing across the English Channel from Dover to Ostend, the Old Contemptibles entrained and arrived at Brussels on the evening of 10 November, where they were received by the British Military Attache, representatives of the British Legion branch in the city and Belgian ex-Servicemen. The Chums were then booked into their accommodation at the Hotel Splendid and some of the party then visited the British Legion Club, where they were entertained for the evening.
On Friday 11 November, the ninth anniversary of the Armistice being signed, the Chums travelled to Mons, where they marched through the town led by their banner, which had been presented to them by Lady Amherst two years previously. One of their number reported on the ceremony that took place at Mons (Bergen) Communal Cemetery:
“From An Old Contemptible.
“There could surely have been no service of greater solemnity or impressiveness than that which took place at Mons Cemetery to-day, when a little company of 225 “Old Contemptibles” stood bareheaded during the silence among comrades and enemies who had gone. The company included three V.C.s, scores of D.C.M.s and men crippled or blinded. The graves in the cemetery were beautifully attended, and on this November day when the clouds overhead were to turn to sleet and snow, roses were still blooming.
The brief ceremony over and the National Anthems of the Allies having been sung, the party marched past the Cross of Sacrifice in the cemetery. Afterwards many a lowered head beside a stone dated 23 August, 1914, testified that a warrior who had come through the fire of war had met a lost comrade. From those gravesides messages were sent to the King, the King of the Belgians, and the Prince of Wales. That to the Prince read:
“Two hundred and twenty-five Old Contemptibles on parade to-day on the historic cobbled streets of Mons, raise the unanimous shout ‘The Prince, our chum, God bless him.’”
The Old Contemptibles’ Association, which has hitherto only permitted one honorary member, the Prince of Wales, has invited the King of the Belgians to accept a similar title, which has also been given to the Mayors of Mons in perpetuity.”
The Old Contemptibles Association paraded in Brussels on 12 November and wreaths were laid on behalf of the Chums and the Lord Mayor of London at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. Sir George Graham, the British Ambassador to Belgium, addressed the Chums who then observed two minutes’ silence. A short service then took place, directed by the Reverend Owen Watkins, who was Chaplain to the Association, while a Chum accompanied the hymns playing his accordion. Following their remembrance service, the Old Contemptibles were then entertained by the authorities in Brussels and Belgian ex-Servicemen, before departing for England.
The Chums arrived back at Victoria late on the evening of 12 November, and were addressed by Captain Danny and the Reverend Watkins before being dismissed and travelling back to their homes. For those Old Contemptibles who were fortunate enough to have been on the pilgrimage, their visit would prove unforgettable. Three Chums for Dorset later recalled their experiences to a journalist of The Western Gazette:
EXPERIENCES OF THREE SHERBORNE “OLD CONTEMPTIBLES.”
“Messrs W. H. Etheridge, J. Drake, and A. T. Collings were members of a party of 225 “Old Contemptibles” who went on a pilgrimage to the Mons battlefield during the week-end. They left Victoria Station at 10 o’clock on Thursday night, and at Dover, where light refreshments were provided, the Mayor wished them a pleasant voyage and a safe return. The crossing to France was rather rough, and had its effects even on some of the “old boys.” The party stayed at the Hotel Splendide in Brussels, and on the evening of their arrival fifty of them were invited to the British Legion Club, and entertained for a few hours.
In a record of them experience the Sherborne “Old Contemptibles” state:-
“On Friday we entrained for Mons, where we were met by some officers and men of the Belgian Army. After a welcome and speeches, we marched, headed by the Trumpet Band to the Town Hall, where the Burgomaster made a speech which revived many memories of the war. We proceeded to the Mons Town War Memorial headed by a Military Band and representatives of the Belgian Legion and municipality. The National Anthems of Belgium, France and England were played, and wreaths were placed on the memorial. At the Cemetery of the British soldiers who fell in the war, a short service tool place round the British memorial, and after a visit to the memorial of the 1st R. Irish Regiment, we returned to Mons Town for a few hours’ grace. It was remarkable how well the graves of the fallen are kept. The motor-‘busses (sic) brought us back to our hotel after a good day of marching on the cobble stones of Belgium.
On Saturday we paraded and marched round the city to the Belgian Unknown Warrior’s Grave, where a ceremony took place, the British Ambassador gave an address, wreaths were laid on the grave by the blind and disabled British soldiers present, and at the Grand Place, Old Brussels Town Hall, we were addressed by the deputy to the famous Burgomaster Max. The afternoon was spent souvenir hunting and viewing the city. On Sunday we again visited Mons for a service round the Belgium (sic) War Memorial, which was conducted by the Rev. Owen S. Watkins, C.M.G., C.B.E., K.H.C., Deputy Chaplain-General to the Forces. The hymns were accompanied by one of the “Old Contemptibles” on a melodian. After a short address by the Chaplain and prayers, we were dismissed for a few hours and returned by train to Boulogne via Lille, Armentieres, Hasbrock (sic), St Omer, to Calais, where we embarked for Folkstone, which was reached at 11.20 p.m. An address was given by Captain J. P. Danny, the founder of the “Old Contemptibles Association,” and also by the Chaplain, and each old contemptible made his own arrangements for getting home.”
The party spent a really enjoyable time and were greatly pleased at the reception given to them.”
Chums of The Old Contemptibles’ Association continued to make regular pilgrimages to Mons up until 1990 when the final visit, organised by the London and South-East Area of the Association, took place.
As for Captain John Patrick Danny, the Chums of The Old Contemptibles’ Association did not forget him.
Captain Danny was buried at Abney Park Cemetery in Stoke Newington, and on 26 May 1935 a memorial headstone for his grave was unveiled by Field Marshal George Milne, 1st Baron Milne of Salonika and Rubislaw. The band of the 10th (County of London) Battalion, The London Regiment (Hackney) (T.A.) played at the service and subsequent march past of the Chums, while Trumpeters of the Royal Artillery Depot at Woolwich sounded the Last Post and Reveille.
On 29 August 1948 Lieutenant-General Sir James Ronald Edmonstone Charles K.C.B., C.M.G., D.S.O., President of The Old Contemptibles Association, unveiled a plaque fixed to the wall of the Hackney United Services Club at 69 Powerscroft Road, commemorating the formation of the Association. It reads:
‘IN THIS BUILDING ON THE 25th JUNE 1925 THE OLD CONTEMPTIBLES ASSOCIATION WAS FOUNDED BY CAPTAIN J P DANNY R.A. TO THE GLORY OF GOD AND TO THE IMPERISHABLE MEMORY OF “GENERAL FRENCH’S CONTEMPTIBLE LITTLE ARMY.” AUGUST 5th TO NOVEMBER 22nd 1914.’
Chums of the Founder Branch (Hackney Branch) of The Old Contemptibles’ Association, photographed on 23 May 1964 outside the Hackney United Services Club and the memorial to Captain Danny.
Newsreel film of the pilgrimage by The Old Contemptibles’ Association to Mons and Brussels in 1927 can be viewed on YouTube via the following links:
 Yorkshire Post, 22 May 1928 & The Old Contemptible: The Official Organ of The Old Contemptibles’ Association, No. 434, March 1970, pp. 15-16.
 Leeds Mercury, 28 October 1927.
 Gloucester Citizen, 29 October 1927.
 Clifford Harrison Stringer (1892-1967) had been a Second-Lieutenant of the 5th (Royal Irish) Lancers in 1914 and had disembarked at Le Havre from the S.S. Kingstonian on 18 August. He was sent his 1914 Star on 20 September 1919 and was issued with the clasp and roses for the medal on 1 July 1920.
 Chum John Edward Barnby was born at Hull on 1 November 1896 and was employed as a labourer at a colour works before joining The East Yorkshire Regiment in early 1914, his regimental number being 10190. He had been appointed a Lance-Corporal by the time that he was drafted to France to join the 1st Battalion on 2 November. Wounded in March 1915, Barnby was transferred to the Duke of Wellington’s (West Riding Regiment) on 29 November 1916 and issued with the regimental number 30773. He was subsequently transferred to the Machine Gun Corps (Motor Branch), being issued with the service number 191964, and saw active service during the Third Afghan War in 1919. On being demobilised, John returned to Hull and married Cecily Snee in 1921 and was issued with the clasp and roses for his 1914 Star on 1 October of that year. He joined the Hull Branch of The Old Contemptibles Association on its formation in 1926 and was elected Chairman at the first branch meeting held on 12 October. Chum Barnby later served as honorary secretary of the Hull Branch during the 1930s and was also involved with organising reunions of Old Comrades who had served with the 1st Battalion, The East Yorkshire Regiment in 1914. In 1939, John is recorded as living with his family at 40 Temple Street in Hull and was employed as a temporary telephonist. Barnby moved to Birmingham after the Second World War and lived at 24 Guthrie Street in Lozells, and was finally sent his India General Service Medal with clasp for “Afghanistan 1919 N.W.F.” on 17 January 1954. He also joined the Birmingham Branch of The Old Contemptibles Association, and in March 1955 was appointed Area Delegate for the branch before being elected as its Chairman. Chum John Barnby died at Birmingham in 1965.
 Hull Daily Mail, 9 November 1927.
 Leeds Mercury, 7 November 1927 & Birmingham Daily Gazette, 10 November 1927.
 Yorkshire Post, 22 May 1928.
 Some reports state that the party numbered 225.
 Dundee Evening Telegraph, 10 November 1927.
 Hull Daily Mail, 10 November 1927.
 Leeds Mercury, 7 November 1927.
 Born at Alverstoke, Thomas Henry Seager was aged eighteen years and five months when he attested as a Regular soldier with The King’s Royal Rifle Corps on a Short Service Engagement at Gosport on 14 May 1910. At the time of his enlistment he was employed as a porter and was serving with the 1st Wessex Brigade, Royal Field Artillery (Territorial Force). Issued with the regimental number 9739, Rifleman Seager was posted to the 1st Battalion and passed his 3rd Class Certificate in Education on 26 April 1911. He was awarded his first Good Conduct badge on 14 May 1912 and qualified as a First Class Signaller the same month. At the declaration of war, Rifleman Seager was stationed at Salamanca Barracks in Aldershot and embarked for France, attached to Battalion Headquarters of the 1st K.R.R.C. as a signaller, on 12 August, disembarking at Rouen the following day. On 30 September, while in the line near Beaulne on the Aisne, Seager performed acts of gallantry while acting as a runner for which he subsequently received the Distinguished Conduct Medal. The citation for the award was published in The London Gazette on 17 December 1914:
“For conspicuous good work on 30th September in carrying messages under rifle and shell fire, and for good work of a similar nature on several previous occasions.”
Rifleman Seager was wounded in the left shoulder and right wrist during the Battle of Festubert in May 1915, and was evacuated to hospital in England on 25 May, being posted onto the strength of the Rifle Depot on that date. On 28 August he was transferred to the 5th (Special Reserve) Battalion at Sheerness and was appointed an unpaid Lance-Corporal on his arrival. Seager returned home on furlough in November, and this was reported by The Hampshire Telegraph on 19 November:
“Lance-Corporal T. H. Seager, King’s Royal Rifles, the Gosport lad upon whose breast the King pinned the Distinguished Conduct Medal, for bravery at the battle of the Aisne, is now in the signalling branch. He has been spending a few days leave at home this week. At the battle of the Aisne, Seager volunteered to cross three-quarters of a mile of open country, to obtain help for a British force that was being hard pressed in its defence of advanced trenches. He also holds a French medal for gallantry in the first fighting at Ypres, when he was the means of helping to save a French battery of artillery from being cut up by a superior German force.”
Awarded pay for his appointment as Lance-Corporal on 25 April 1916, Seager was transferred to the 2nd (Home Service) Garrison Battalion, The Northamptonshire Regiment, which was stationed on the Isle of Grain near Sheerness, on 21 June, and was given the regimental number 25814. He was also appointed an Acting Corporal on the date of his transfer. On 15 January 1917, Thomas married Lilian Mary Hawkins at Brentford. The 2nd (Home Service) Garrison Battalion became the 13th Battalion, Royal Defence Corps on 10 August 1917 and Seager was transferred to the Corps, being issued with the service number 48534. He was discharged as physically unfit on 26 November 1917 and was permanently excluded for liability to be medically re-examined for further service under the terms of the Military Service (Review of Exemptions) Act of 1917. Thomas returned home to 2 Roundswell Gardens in Southampton with his wife Lillian, and was sent a Silver War Badge and awarded a pension of 30/6d. for four weeks, reduced to 15/-. for 48 weeks, to be reviewed at the end of that period. He received his King’s Certificate of Discharge on 17 October 1918, by which time he and Lillian resided at 6 Sir George’s Road in the Freemantle district of Southampton. Seager was sent his 1914 Star by post on 12 June 1919 and issued with the clasp and roses for the medal on 5 February 1920, and on 21 April was appointed as a postman in Southampton.
Thomas Henry Seager D.C.M. died in 1967.
 George William Bennett was born at Bermondsey in 1886 and had attested for the Lancers of the Line on 25 February 1907. Issued with the service number L/114, Bennett was posted to the 5th (Royal Irish) Lancers, but was subsequently drafted to the 12th Royal Lancers and served with that regiment in India and South Africa before returning to England in 1913. Private Bennett embarked for France on 16 August 1914. The citation for the award of the Albert Medal was published in The London Gazette on 26 August 1918:
“A woman who was crossing the line in front of a troop train at a railway station in France, to reach a passenger train, was caught by the buffer of the engine. Private Bennett, 12th Lancers, hearing the woman’s screams, and seeing her position, rushed to help her and pulled her into the six-foot way between the two trains. Unfortunately a basket which the woman was carrying was struck by the troop train and knocked Bennett against the passenger train, with the result that he was badly injured and suffered the amputation of both his legs. Had it not been for his presence of mind and courage the woman probably would have been killed.”
As well as being awarded the Albert Medal, which Bennett received from the hands of George V at Buckingham Palace on 18 September 1918, he was also awarded the Médaille d’Honneur pour acte de Courage et de Dévouement, First Class, in Silver Gilt, by the French Government on 4 October 1918. George was discharged as a consequence of his injuries on 16 January 1919 and was issued with a Silver War Badge. He was living at the Disabled Soldiers’ Home on Wattisfield Road in Hackney when he was sent the clasp and roses for his 1914 Star on 12 November 1920. Chum Bennett can be seen prominently on a Pathe newsreel taken during the visit, when he was filmed on crutches going down the steps to the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Brussels. Bennett’s medals were sold at auction on 1 March 2017 for £7,500.
 Dundee Evening Telegraph, 10 November 1927.
 Dundee Courier, 11 November 1927.
 Dundee Evening Telegraph, 10 November 1927.
 Leeds Mercury, 11 November 1927, Western Morning News, 11 November 1927 & Western Gazette, 18 November 1927.
 Birmingham Daily Gazette, 12 November 1927.
 Belfast News-Letter, 14 November 1927 & Gloucester Citizen, 14 November 1927.
 Western Gazette, 18 November 1927.