They served in the Great War

My grandfather’s generation served in the armed forces during the First World War.


Capt F.H.D. Flack RAMC

Grandfather Dr Frederick Henry Douglas Flack served in the Royal Army Medical Corps. The family oral history suggests that he served in Salonica but I have not been able to confirm this from official records.

My Grandfather’s younger brother, Dr Bertram Flack served in the Royal Navy as a naval surgeon. I have not been able to locate a photograph of him. He served in several ships and survived despite several of the ships on which has served having been sunk by enemy action.

The saddest possible story for his family is that this talented young man who was the apple of his parents’ eye, survived the horrors of war only to died in the Spanish Flu epidemic in 1919 aged just 32 years old.

Bertram Flack WW1

Lt Surgeon Bertram Flack RNR

On my Grandmother’s (Alice Flack nee Cockshutt) side of the family, her brother Captain Edmund Meredith Cockshutt, served in the East Lancashire Regiment. He was wounded in Gallipoli and lost a leg. He was fitted with an artificial leg and continued to serve until the end of the war.

Capt Edmund Cockshutt (1.35)

Capt Edmund Meredith Cockshutt

On my mother’s side of the family, her father, Warrant Officer Class 1 Ernest Hayward served in the Royal Engineers with distinction.

Enest Hayward in WW1 v2

WO1 Ernest Hayward

Comment:  It is difficult for us in the 21st century to understand the military tactics of the early years of the First World War. It is perhaps shocking to remind ourselves that the military hierarchy of the British Army still believed in forming up the infantry shoulder to shoulder for the advance and in the use of cavalry using lances and swords for the charge.

The terrible casualties in the period 1914 to 1915 soon brought about changes in tactics, but to get some idea of the mindset, this early film of the training of the Manchester Regiment is useful. CLICK HERE


5 thoughts on “They served in the Great War

  1. 8055bell

    I was trying to see if I could provide you with any more help with Ernest Hayward and was pretty rapidly stuck. Was his number 303296? If this is the case he was likely to have been in the 8th Ardwick Bttn. The photo looks more like an officer than a Sergeant and the Medal Card for 303296 only records Private and no MM. It would be good to help where I can….

    1. tedflack Post author

      Thanks Tim
      Any help you can give me would be gratefully received. Unfortunately I have no additional information apart from some photographs and the family’s oral tradition of him being a “WW1 hero”. He was Town Clerk of Southport in the early 1950s. Could there have been two Ernest Haywards who served in the Manchester Regiment?

      1. tedflack Post author

        Hi Tim,
        I now have a copy of my mother’s birth certificate date 1916 which shows that Ernest Hayward was recorded as “Sergeant Royal Engineers”. I am now chasing more information about his service record.

  2. 8055bell

    I’m a bit stuck. Do you have any more info on his earlier life. 1911 Census etc. Also military photos may help. AN enlarged version of the one you’ve posted would be useful. I have a hunch Ernest may have been commissioned to another Regiment.


  3. Pingback: The Family History of our Flack, Cockshutt, Hayward and Chambers Families. | Where do you think you come from?

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