Ronald Basil Girdler
Arthur William (continued)
After the First World War began, my father volunteered to join the army and started his service as Private P.S. 9520 in the 8th. Royal Fusiliers on 27th November 1915. He went to France in April 1916 and was there in the first instance until November 1916, when he was wounded in the arm during the latter stages of the battle of the Somme. The War Records at the Public Records Office, Kew, show that the 8th. Royal Fusiliers were positioned N. of the Somme region, near Bethune, during the period April-
I remember horrifying stories that my father told me about his experiences during the First World War, including the rat-
The 5th. Lincolnshire Regiment went out to to the Western Front with the 177th. Brigade, 59th. Division, on 23rd February 1917, transferred to 30th. Division on 28th May 1918, and to the 198th Brigade 66th division on 21st June 1918. They were in the area near the Belgian border between Bethune and Lens. During March 1918 there was shelling and some gas shells were used. During April 1918 the battalion was attacked by fever -
During July 1918, the battalion was in the Gorre sector (position shown in map 9), about three miles N.E. of Bethune, and the records of July 19th. state "The weather was stormy and the enemy artillery exceptionally quiet, 2nd. Lieutenant Girdler and 2nd Lieutenant Giles both carried out very good daylight patrols and were complimented on their work by the General Officer Commanding." The records of 7th November show the war nearing its end when they were on the W. side of the Petit Helpe river and the battalion crossed the river on a makeshift bridge, helped by civilians from the other side, and state "The civilians were mad with delight and did all they could to help us across. When our men reached the other side, they were immediately surrounded by the civilians who persisted in shaking hands with everybody. " Hostilities ceased on 11th November 1918.
After the war, my father stayed in France with his Regiment for some time and he was responsible, amongst other things. for escorting parties of German prisoners back to Germany. He told me that when carrying out these duties he had to ride a horse. He was promoted to 1st. Lieutenant on 30th July 1919 and held this rank until he was demobilised on 30th September 1921.
During the war, my father and his brothers Basil, Charles and Cecil often visited their sister Alice and her husband Christopher (Joe) at 459. Fulham Road, S.W.6. on their way home on leave. Here they were often de-
After their time on the racetracks my father and Uncle Basil started work. My father first worked at Worth's, an antique shop in Regent Street. and then at a firm called Shipley Main. My mother and Auntie Kit went to live at 489, Fulham Road for a short time prior to their marriages where my mother slept in one bed with my cousin Kath (Alice’s daughter) Auntie Kit slept in another bed all in Kath's room.
Uncle Basil married Catherine Gorham on 14th June 1924. My father married my mother Louisa Annie Gorham on 2nd August 1924 at St. James Church, Fulham. My parents continued to Iive at 489, Fulham Road after their marriage, where they had a bed-
Life in the 1930's was becoming increasingly difficult with the recession and mass unemployment. My mother had an operation for gallstones in 1932, and my sister Peggy and I stayed with our Auntie Allie (Alice) Uncle Joe (Christopher) at Fulham Road until Mum had recovered from her operation and had been sent to a convalescent home in Swanley, Kent. There was no National Health Service in those days, and I remember my father having to meet the Lady Almoner at the hospital in order to discuss how much he could afford to pay towards the cost of the operation. Peggy I were well looked after by Auntie Allie and Uncle Jo and three daughters, Kath, Glad and Vera.
Later on, my father's business at St.John’s Wood became bankrupt and he had to pool all his resources to try to save it, unhappily without success. He was then unemployed for about two years, during which time he had to delay payments on his mortgage and we had to economise in everything -
During the war, when we were still living in Colindale, many high explosive bombs, incendiaries, flying bombs and mines were dropped in the Hendon area during the German air raids. We often had to take shelter at these times in the Anderson shelter which had been built in the garden. My father and I were on a rota of fire-
|Gorham Story Page 2|
|Gorham Story Page 3|
|Gorham Story Page 4|
|Gorham Story Page 5|
|Gorham Story Page 6|
|Girdler Story Page 2|
|Girdler Story Page 3|
|Girdler Story Page 4|
|Girdler Story Page 5|
|Girdler Story Page 6|
|Girdler Story Page 6|
|Girdler Story Page 7|
|Girdler Story Page 8|
|Girdler Story Page 9|
|Girdler Story Page 10|