Via Flickr:World War One story of a Sussex family as revealed by the recent addition of 2 sets of medals into our inventory.
We have a trio to M 2025 P Cheeseman L.CK.MTE.R.N. and a duo of medals to G-20152 Pte. L. Cheesman. R. Suss. R.
Despite the different spellings of the surname these medals were awarded to 2 brothers from Watersfield, Coldwaltham near Pulborough, West Sussex. The 1901 Census has the family Cheeseman living at No 30 North Street, Coldwaltham, West Sussex in the Parish of St Giles. This shows William Cheeseman, head of the family, thatcher and hay tier, with wife Ellen and the children, Grace aged 12, Percy aged 9, Lovell aged 6 and Olive aged 2. Grace, Percy and Lovell were born in Bury and Olive in Coldwaltham.The 1911 Census shows the household without Percy but with a nephew called Gerald Leonard Goble aged 3 years born in Brighton. At this Census Lovell is 16 years old and is occupied as Assistant Hay Tier.
We shall start with the 2 medals for Lovell Cheesman of the Royal Sussex Regiment.
The Medal Index Card (MIC) for Lovell Cheesman confirms that this pair is his full entitlement and he did not receive a Victory Medal. The 2/6 Royal Sussex Regiment are confirmed as being involved in what is known as the 3rd Sikh Wars. There is a story here to be investigated further.
The Trio is another story altogether.
Inscribed to – M 2025 P Cheeseman L.CK.MTE.R.N.Percy Cheeseman was a Leading Cook’s Mate on board HMS Good Hope
As stated above Percy was from Watersfield, near Pulborough, West Sussex. Percy died on the 1st November 1914 along with all the crew of the Good Hope. HMS Good Hope was sunk on the 1st November 1914 with all the ships complement of 900 lost at the Battle of Coronel off the coast of Chile. Percy Cheeseman is commemorated on the Portsmouth Naval Memorial on Southsea Common, Portsmouth, Hampshire. He was aged 23 when he died. There is a very good article about the Battle of Coronel at Naval-History World War 1 at Sea. With acknowledgement to Wikipedia here is some detail of HMS Good Hope.
HMS Good Hope was a 14,100-ton Drake-class armoured cruiser of the Royal Navy; she was originally planned to be named Africa, but was renamed before she was launched. Laid down on 11 September 1899 and launched on 21 February 1901, with her heaviest gun being of 9.2 inch calibre, she became the flagship of the 1st Cruiser Squadron, Atlantic Fleet, in 1906, and in 1908 became the flagship of the 2nd Cruiser Squadron. The mascot of HMS Good Hope was an Eland bull, named Peter. She went into the Reserve Fleet in 1913, but following the mobilisation just before the outbreak of the First World War, she joined the 6th Cruiser Squadron. The 6th Cruiser Squadron was initially allocated to the Grand Fleet at Scapa Flow to replace the 4th Cruiser Squadron, composed of Monmouth class cruisers, which had previously been sent to Rear-Admiral Sir Christopher Craddock‘s North America and West Indies command to help protect British interests during the Mexican Revolution. However, the Admiralty almost immediately, mistakenly concluded that it was likely that German liners in New York and other ports on the United States Atlantic seaboard could convert themselves to armed merchant cruisers by installing guns which the Admiralty believed they carried in their holds. They therefore diverted Good Hope to further reinforce Craddock’s force, and she left Portsmouth on 2 August 1914 under the command of Captain Philip Francklin. Craddock transferred his flag to her on her arrival at Halifax, Nova Scotia because, although 90% of her crew were reservists who had been given little opportunity to train together in the ship, she was faster than his current flagship HMS Suffolk . For the next few weeks she was employed protecting British merchant shipping as far south as Pernambuco and later the Falkland Islands. She then embarked on the search for the German East Asiatic Squadron, leaving Stanley on 22 October for the west coast of South America via Cape Horn.She was sunk along with HMS Monmouth by the German armoured cruisers Scharnhorst and Gneisenau under Admiral Graf Maximilian von Spee with the loss of her entire complement of 900 hands, including Craddock in the Battle of Coronel, on 1 November 1914, off the Chilean coast.
There is a very good article about the Battle of Coronel at Naval-History World War 1 at Sea.
Here is an excerpt which has more detail of the sinking of the ship. HMS Good Hope, large or 1st class armoured cruiser, Drake-class, 14,150t, 1901, 2-9.2in/16-6in/12-12pdr/2-18in tt, 23kts, c900 crew, Pennant No.P.16, joined 6th CS Grand Fleet 8/14, to South Atlantic, Capt Philip Franklin, flagship Rear-Adm Sir Christopher Craddock. Engaged by Scharnhorst – 8-8.2in guns versus 2-9.2in, third salvo put forward 9.2in out of action followed by serious hits to the forepart, upper bridge and foretop, repeatedly hit amidships setting her on fire, after turret hit twice, large explosion between mainmast and after funnel at 1950, flames reaching 200ft, ship left silent and dead in the water. Von Spee lost contact around 2000 and ordered his light cruisers to search for the two large British ship that were presumably damaged and finish them with torpedoes, Good Hope was not found but went down around this time, her end not seen in the darkness and the driving rain; 926 lives lost – 52 officers, 871 ratings and 3 canteen staff, no survivors.
It is also worth noting that there is a superb painting of HMS Good Hope by our foremost Maritime painter who hailed form Portsmouth, William Lionel Wyllie.
On a visit to ST Giles Church, Coldwaltham the headstone of Percy Cheeseman’s parents has a dedication to their son. Also he is mentioned on the Coldwaltham War Memorial. This is a small framed list, locally illustrated, including the names of 8 local men who were lost in the 1914-1918 War.
Percy Cheeseman. Leading Cooks Mate M/2026, H.M.S. Good Hope, Royal Navy. Lost with the Armoured Cruiser during the Battle of Coronel Islands off Chile, 1st November 1914. Aged 23. Son of William & Ellen Cheeseman of Watersfield. Commemorated on The Portsmouth Naval Memorial. MR. 3.
On the memorial is also a dedication to: Arthur Cheesman, Private L/7992, 2nd Battalion, The Royal Sussex Regiment. 1st Division. Killed in action at Richebourg L`Avoue 9th May 1915. Aged 31. Son of John & Fanny Cheesman of Lower Nash, Nutbourne near Pulborough. Regular Soldier born in Coldwaltham and enlisted in Chichester. Commemorated on The Le Touret Memorial MR.22.
The name Cheeseman appears to be an extended family in the Parish as can be seen from the headstones. It was very sad to see the William and Ellen also lost 2 daughters at a young age. These were;
Blanche, who died on the 10th March 1919 aged 31 yrs.
Olive, as seen on the aforementioned Census who died 22nd March 1919, aged 20 years.
Finally, here shown is the headstone for William and Ellen Cheeseman the parents of Percy and Lovell. The dedication to Percy can clearly be seen at the base.
There is also a dedication to the crews of “H.M.S. Monmouth” and “H.M.S. Good Hope” in Port Stanley Cathedral on the Falkland Isles
There is a wealth of information on the internet about the Battle Of Coronel.
It will also be interesting to understand the involvement of the Royal Sussex Regiment in the 3rd Sikh Wars and why a soldier would be awarded a British War Medal but no Victory medal.
The 2 sets of medals are on sale, though the price is high because we want to deter the medals for the brothers from being split.