Tag Archives: Manchester Regiment

Norman Mortimer Joseph Kohnstam

Norman Mortimer Joseph Kohnstam was the eldest of three brothers to attend Westminster. His parents were Rudolph Kohnstam, of Hampstead, and Emily, daughter of Jacob Piza, of Maida Hill.

He was born on the 26th February 1897, and was admitted to Grant’s in 1910. He became a non-resident King’s Scholar in 1911.

Norman was made Head of Grant’s in 1914. The following incident – in his own words – is recorded in his house ledger on 29th March 1915:

It is the last evening of Lent Term 1915 and the event that I am to describe took place on the last evening of Lent Term 1914; on the evening in question we had our annual fire-escape practice, the canvas shute had been thrown out of window and according to custom I was the first to descend; I managed to get half way down without any misadventure, but no further, there I remained, the lower end of the shute had unfortunately either been retained at the big dorm window or had stuck in a window on the way down, anyhow after a considerable amount of rather unnecessary excitement on the part of everyone but myself I was at length hauled into safety hanging onto the rope that constituted part of the fire escape, the rope I might say is in a distinctly work  out and rather precarious condition and I advise no-one to repeat my adventure unless absolutely necessary.

Only a short time into his tenure as Head of House, Norman fell ill with scarlet fever:

…from which I did not rise for 10 weeks, for the next 6 months I was kept in exile and did not return to Westminster until Lent Term 1915. I left at the end of that term somewhat abruptly as I was at last enabled to take a commission, which I am still waiting for as I write.

After leaving the school at Easter 1915, Norman enlisted as 2nd Lieutenant with the 3rd Battalion, the Manchester Regiment in May. He was promoted to Lieutenant on the 1st of February 1916, and later became a Captain. He joined the Expeditionary Force at Gallipoli in October 1915 and remained at Suvla Bay until the evacuation in December. He served in the Sinai Peninsula between January and June 1916.

His younger brother Oscar Jacob Charles Kohnstam was killed in the trenches on the Somme on the 29th June. And Norman himself was sent out to the western front less than a month later. He was killed in action on the 22nd of March 1918.

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William Penn-Gaskell

19161012_PennGaskell,WWilliam Penn Gaskell, belonged to a well-known Irish family, and in 1905, upon his father’s death, he inherited the Shanagarry estate, County Cork. He was a descendant of the famous Quaker, William Penn, who founded the state of Pennsylvania.

William came to the school from Rugby and was admitted in 1886 to Homeboarders’ House. He left the school in July 1889 and travelled to Chile. His maternal grandfather was from Peru so his interest in South America was not surprising. William lived in Iquique and Antofagasta, eventually becoming manager of a nitrate works in the town.

On the outbreak of war he made the decision to give up his job and return to England to serve in the Army. He was made a Captain in the 18th Battalion of the Manchester Regiment in February 1915 and proceeded to France in August 1916.

He was killed in the action at Flers on the Somme front. He went over the parapet to the attack in support of the Royal Scots Fusiliers, who were held up for a time by intense machine-gun fire. Notseeing any Officers of the Scots Fusiliers, he decided to push on, and he rallied the line when he was shot in the arm. While his servant was dressing the wound, a shell burst near and both were instantly killed.

His Colonel wrote :-

‘I admired his pluck and energy very much indeed in setting to work at his age to fit himself for the Front, and I always considered him a magnificent example to all of us and a pattern of everything an Officer and a gentleman should be. His fine example and gallant death, while he rallied his men, made the greatest impression upon all his comrades. His influence on his men was most inspiring.’

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Charles Nigel Gordon Walker

Charles Walker was born in Gravesend, Kent and arrived up Rigaud’s in 1905 at the age of 16. He was a half-boarder, and managed to earn himself a tanning in Play 1907 for “ragging [fighting] in the changing room”.

He opted to focus his studies on maths and science, as opposed to the Classics, but it is unknown where he went after leaving the school at Easter 1908.

Charles was 25 when he was made a temporary Lieutenant of the newly formed 10th Service Battalion of the South Staffordshire Regiment on the 21st of November 1914. He was made an adjutant and attached to the 8th Battalion of the Manchester Regiment, which then became part of the 127th Brigade, 42nd East Lancashire Division the following May.

On the 6th of May 1915, Charles was one of the 14,224 who landed at Cape Helles, Gallipoli, where he would have seen action in the attempts to capture the heights around the village of Krithia.

The Battle of Krithia Vinyard, which took place over 6th to the 13th of August 1915. This was an attempt not only to capture ground, but also to divert attention away from Suvla Bay, where a large British landing was to be attempted.

Charles was killed in action on the second day of this battle.

19150807_Walker,CNG
6th Battalion, Manchester Regiment advancing over open terrain during the Third Battle of Krithia, Gallipoli from the Imperial War Museum’s Collection

 

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