Tag Archives: British Army

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


Episode 2. In search of the parents of Capt “Billy” William Flack. b.1810 in Bailieborough, Cavan, Ireland

In my first post, I outlined possible “lines of enquiry” (LOE) for the search for the parents of my GGGrandfather, Captain William Flack whose military records indicate that he was born April 1810 in the Parish of Killan, near the town of “Balyburrow” (Bailieborough), in the County of Cavan, Ireland.

No. 782 Sergeant Major William Flack of the 63rd Regiment of Foot was honorably discharged from the regular army on 20th September 1852 in Dublin.

We know that his mother, Elizabeth Flack, was born in Ireland in about 1790 and according to her Death Certificate, died at Accrington Road, Habergham Eaves, Lancashire, England on 26 May 1863, aged 73. The Death Certificate (information supplied by the informant, “W. Flack” (presumably William Flack her son) indicated that she was the “Widow of William Flack, a soldier”.

There is no record of Elizabeth living with the family in the 1861 Census.

Who was William Flack, a soldier, married to Elizabeth Flack, who were the parents of William Flack born 1810 in Cavan?

A search of the available birth, marriage and death records in FindMyPast databases for a William Flack, a soldier who married an Elizabeth in the period 1770-1795 failed to reveal any obvious candidates.

What more can be done to track down details of the father of William Flack?