Names that are battles

Discussion in 'Prewar' started by Owen, Jul 28, 2014.

  1. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

    Just been chatting with Diane about people who had middlenames that were battles.
    When growing up a lady a few doors down had the middle name Cambrai.

    Anyone have any relatives whose middle name was also a battle ?
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  2. bamboo43

    bamboo43 Very Senior Member

    Yes, I have a great uncle whose middle name was Verdun. This was uncovered a few years ago when my brother was investigating the wider family tree.
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  3. arnhem44

    arnhem44 Member

    I don't know if those were chosen for the battle...Paris Hilton, isn't exactly named after the battle for/of Paris ? (1944, 1870,1814,1590...)
  4. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    Eric Mafeking Colthorpe was in my Dad's training squad and was one of the four guardsmen from 3IG to be awarded MM for cutting wires on Joe's Bridge, 10 Sep 44.

    Screen shot 2014-07-28 at 12.26.02.png
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  5. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    A baby called Somme


    On 20 March 1917, a baby girl was born in Northfleet, Kent, and given a name heavy with history - Somme, writes Mark Sanders.

    She's carried that name throughout her long life, in memory of the father she never knew.

    Her birth certificate records her full name: Tiny Somme Gray. "Tiny" was her mother's nickname, "Somme" marks the tragedy that tore through the family. Her father Herbert Gray was killed in the Battle of the Somme just five months before her birth.

    Tiny Somme Gray, later to become Hammond, has just turned 98 and lives in a care home in Gravesend.



    She explains how some people react to her name: "There's a name, they say. What you got that for? My father was killed on The Somme, that's why. Oh, they say, I wouldn't want to be named after that."

    Every time she signs her name or sees it on an official document, she's reminded of her father. "Every time, whenever I have to put my name Tiny Somme. I'm very proud of it, always have been."

    Herbert Gray's wife Emma thought he wouldn't be called up to fight because of his job at a cement works. But Herbert left this important wartime industry to earn more money at a paper mill. He was eventually conscripted in 1916 and while on leave in June that year, his daughter was conceived. Pte Herbert Gray of The Sherwood Foresters was killed four months later - one of 420,000 British casualties in the battle.


    One German officer, Friedrich Steinbrecher, wrote of the bloodbath: "Somme. The whole history of the world cannot contain a more ghastly word."

    Herbert's widow Emma never talked about his death with her daughter and never really explained why she called her only child Somme. "It's a very special name I said to my mum. Well, she said, you can't forget your name."

    As a little girl, Tiny Somme was sometimes teased by children for having a name "out in France". In 1923, when just six, she was at the unveiling of the Northfleet War Memorial, where her father's name is inscribed. Her mother would never go there.

    And yet, she gave her daughter a name that would act as a living memorial to the man who would never return from the Somme.
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  6. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    Just a quick check

    According to Geoff's SE for WW2 UK fatalities, amongst the first names there are

    1 with Agincourt

    1 with Trafalgar

    2 with Mafeking
    2 with Tugela
    6 with Colenso

    142 with Verdun
    15 with Arras
    15 with Ypres
    7 with Mons
    6 with Aisne
    3 with Thiepval
    2 with Jutland
    2 with Cambrai
    1 with Yser
    1 with Anzac

    and this man

    Service No:937858
    Date of Death:13/01/1941
    Regiment/Service:Royal Artillery 68 Medium Regt.
    Grave Reference: 5. F. 1.
    Additional Information: Son of William and Agnes Payne, of Haslingfield, Cambridgeshire.
  7. lionboxer

    lionboxer Member

    An old timer from my village sadly now deceased named Thiepval Montauban. We always knew him as Monty. His father fought with the Norfolk's at these places.
    Another real old timer named his son Majuba from the first Boer war battle he fought in.
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  8. Capt Bill

    Capt Bill wanderin off at a tangent

    not a battle, but i can remember caring for an elderly gent in his 90's back in 1991 whos middle name was 'shrapnel'
  9. Deacs

    Deacs Well i am from Cumbria. Patron

    Not a relation of mine but a chap who has helped me with information on his grandfather (died WW1) and his dad (died WW2). John's middle name is also Verdun because his family thought that his grandfather was seriously wounded at Verdun (which he finally succumbed to his wounds in 1918).
  10. DTD21

    DTD21 Member

    I found one female in my tree with the name Colenso. Yes, she was born shortly after the battle! :rolleyes:
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  11. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

    101-year-old breaks skydiving world record - BBC News

    A D-Day veteran, aged 101 years and 38 days, has become the oldest man in the world to complete a skydive.

    Bryson William Verdun Hayes, known as Verdun, took to the skies with 10 members of his family, at Honiton in Devon.
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  12. researchingreg

    researchingreg Well-Known Member

    My daughters partners second great grandfather, Alma Jacob Inkerman Ford born 30 Aug 1855 died Oct 1906. One of his sons born in 1891 was called Alma Ford. He was Pte Alma Ford 17961 D Company9th Btn Yorkshire Regiment who served in WW1
    Last edited: May 14, 2017
  13. bamboo43

    bamboo43 Very Senior Member

    This is Sgt. Frank Verdun Howney, one of my granddad's younger brothers.

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  14. Slipdigit

    Slipdigit Old Hickory Recon

    I would have thought there might be a Passchendaele in that list, also
  15. spidge


    I just checked my RAAF database and 13 came up with "VERDUN".
  16. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    'I was named after a World War One battle' - BBC News

    Passchendaele, Somme, Arras, Cambrai, Verdun, Dardanelles, Ypres and Jutland.

    Not only the names of World War One battles, but these were also the names given to babies, usually in commemoration of a father or relation who fought and died there.

    It might sound strange to modern ears, but more than 1,600 children during and after World War One were given the names related to the war, even down to calling babies Vimy Ridge or Zeppelina.

    The war literally became part of their identity - and they were a form of living commemoration.
    The names tended to be given to girls rather than boys and the battle names were feminised, such as Sommeria, Arrasina, Verdunia, Monsalene and Dardanella.

    With the centenary commemorations approaching for the Battle of Passchendaele, there have been efforts to trace families who have passed down these names through the generations.



    In the first stages of the war, the battle names tended to be generic locations - with children given names such as Belgium or Frances (after France) or Calais, where soldiers might have disembarked.

    But Ms Carlson says that as the war progressed the names became specific to battles, such as Arras, Mons and Somme, and then down to particular parts of battles, such as Delville Wood.

    The trend was particularly prevalent in south Wales - and the brother of the actor Richard Burton was called Verdun, after the battle in France. Verdun became the single-most used battle names, adopted by more than 900 families.

    Passchendaele, with its huge casualties, also became a source of names for babies.

  17. harkness

    harkness Well-Known Member

    Mr Gt Grandfather was Henry Alma Henshall (b.1854).
  18. researchingreg

    researchingreg Well-Known Member

    He must have been born after the 20 September. The name Alma runs in my family my great great grandfather was in the 3rd battalion Grenadier Guards and was at the Battle in Crimea. his great granddaughter my mother was named Alma and my granddaughter is named Alma (although I suspect not after the battle but after my mother)
  19. researchingreg

    researchingreg Well-Known Member

    Another ww2 battle name. A man in Hastings is named Dee Day White (born 6 June 1944) in Hastings. He is also responsible for recovering one of the little ships that went to Dunkirk in 1940, and getting it restored and put on display in Hastings. It was the Cyril and Lilian Bishop lifeboat which was at Hastings from 1931 - 1955.
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  20. bamboo43

    bamboo43 Very Senior Member

    Just been going over some of my Chindit 1 casualties tonight and noticed for the first time, this soldier:
    Herbert Kitchener Yeomans. I was well aware of his second name, but never noticed his wife's middle name until today:

    Casualty Details
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