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RMS Glouchester Castle Postcard

Help needed to decipher a postcard home from a World War One patient at the Cambridge Military Hospital in Aldershot to his mother

One Penny Postcard World War One

A Grandson is trying to decipher the writing on this postcard to help in his research about his Grandfather, Charles Norman Cleal, known as Norman, who was evacuated to the Cambridge Military Hospital in Aldershot from Salonika circa 1917 to 1919. The front has this photo of RMS Gloucester Castle.

rms glouchester castle

The transcript of the postcard reads:

Mrs C Cleal
Welsh Road

I am at Weite, Ward 16 Cambridge Hospital, Aldershot
Dear Mother,
Just a line hoping you are all well.
As I'm alright myself now I _ _ at Dover in the _. We arrived here about _ _ this afternoon to I expect you will be surprised to (hear unsure) We left Salonika? on the 26 morn arrived Jan.

letter ward 16 cambridge military hospital

Does anyone know if the sentence should be Weite ward 16 or could it be White Ward 16 of the CMH? Please contact me.

Postcard From Patient to Family Sent From Military Hospital

Norman Cleal

Born Charles Norman Cleal, though normally known as Norman, was born 31st January 1896 in Leigh Street, Townsville, Queensland during Cyclone Sigma. The family were told that he was born in a tent although the photo has been lost in time. Ron A. Cleal remembers it looking like an American Indian tepee though his Aunt Eva and Elsie denied it. His grandson, Roger, wrote to North Queensland University who advised him to write to the then Colindale Newspaper library who allowed him to purchase copies of the “Townsville Bulletin”. This proved it was true that Townsville had suffered huge floods as a result of Cyclone Sigma. His parents made repeated trips home to Dorset and on one trip went to Freemantle. They Lived at 39 Bramhall St, Norwood, East Perth, Perth Australia. He received a religious book at Suez 1908.

His mother was Elizabeth (aged 38 years at this time), Storekeeper, Charles (11), Elsie (7) John (2) [?should be Ron] R.M.S Orontes Arrived Fremantle 30 January 1908.

In 1909 aged 13 they lived in Priors Marston, Warwickshire where his youngest sister Eva Gladys was born. The family is listed on the 1911 Census.

Norman was aged 18 in 1914, Attested 13th November 1915.

He was called up for service 14th October 1916 for Royal Warwickshire Regiment. At some point he was gassed and the family assume in France or Belgium. During this time was when he was admitted to Weit Ward 16 Cambridge Hospital Aldershot.

royal warwickshire regiment world war one hospital uniform
Norman wearing hospital uniform with his Royal Warwickshire Regiment Cap and Badge. On the back is written “Dad aged 18”.

On a book fly leaf is written “at Parkhust military Hospital IOW aged 21 in 1917”. (Isle of Wight)

He transferred in February 1918 to R.A.S.C. (MT) – Royal Army Service Corps Mechanical Transport. He was on the Army Reserve from 1920 to 1923, when he rejoined the R.A.S.C. (MT) until 1927.From his Army discharge papers it is stated he was 5 foot 9 5/8 tall. He had Grey eyes and brown hair and a fresh complexion.

Daimler vehicle first world war soldiers
Norman is on the right pictured with his friends by their Daimler vehicle.

Medal Card World War One Norman Cleal
Medal Card.

RASC Medal rolls
RASC Medal Rolls.

The family recall him saying he caught Malaria in Gallipoli, though they are not sure when he was there.

certificatereserved demobilisation army discharge papers
Certificate of reserved demobilisation army discharge papers.

Norman knew of Margaret through his sister Elsie as they were at school together. On September 15th 1926 he married Margaret Hughes in Southam parish church. They honeymooned at Abbotts Repton near Huntingdon where her brother was Butler.

When first married they lived on Welsh Road East in a cottage where there were 6 cottages together. They moved to just below the Black Dog same side on the Leamington side. Eric and Ron were born there. They moved to Banbury Road and eventually to 26 Abbey Lane. Eric Charles Cleal was born on 1st August 1927 they lived then just of Church Hill, Southam. Norman was playing with the Southam Town Band at “The Castle Inn”, Edge Hill at the time Norman was aged 30. They moved to Banbury Road which was where Ron was born in 1931. When Ron was moved they moved to Council house in Abbey Lane.

Charles Norman Cleal family 1934
Family photo take in 1934.

He also had a coal delivery business. They lived in Banbury Road in a thatched roofed building with stables. Their horse was called Flower. Norman would sleep with the horse in the stable if the horse was unwell but due to the General Strike he went bankrupt.

When he had spare time he was good at drawing and was very clever at grafting roses and fruit trees.

comrades of the great war card
Comrades of the Great War card.

His health was always affected, he smoked heavily and died aged 41 of Bronchial Pneumonia on 3rd January 1937 at his home in Abbey Lane, Southam. After he died Margaret Cleal received a Pension of 10 bob for Eric and 5 shillings each for Ron and June £1 a week.

He did work on the roads for Northamptonshire Council. The family have a picture of him on the canals and he also worked at Harbury cement works.

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PTSD assistance dog Lynne book

My PTSD assistance dog, Lynne, and I have written a book about how she helps me with my military Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, anxiety, and depression. I talk about my time in the QAs and the coping strategies I now use to be in my best health.

Along the way, I have had help from various military charities, such as Help for Heroes and The Not Forgotten Association and royalties from this book will go to them and other charities like Bravehound, who paired me with my four-legged best friend.

I talk openly about the death of my son by suicide and the help I got from psychotherapy and counselling and grief charities like The Compassionate Friends.

The author, Damien Lewis, said of Lynne:

"A powerful account of what one dog means to one man on his road to recovery. Both heart-warming and life-affirming. Bravo Chris and Lynne. Bravo Bravehound."


Buy the Paperback.

QARANC Poppy Pin Badge Royal British Legion RBL
This beautiful QARANC Poppy Pin Badge is available from the Royal British Legion Poppy Shop.

For those searching military records, for information on a former nurse of the QAIMNS, QARANC, Royal Red Cross, VAD and other nursing organisations or other military Corps and Regiments, please try Genes Reunited where you can search for ancestors from military records, census, birth, marriages and death certificates as well as over 673 million family trees. At GenesReunited it is free to build your family tree online and is one of the quickest and easiest ways to discover your family history and accessing army service records.

More Information.

Another genealogy website which gives you access to military records and allows you to build a family tree is Find My Past which has a free trial.

If you would like to contribute any info or photographs then please contact me.

New post apocalyptic military survival thriller

Former Royal Air Force Regiment Gunner Jason Harper witnesses a foreign jet fly over his Aberdeenshire home. It is spilling a strange yellow smoke. Minutes later, his wife, Pippa, telephones him, shouting that she needs him. They then get cut off. He sets straight out, unprepared for the nightmare that unfolds during his journey. Everyone seems to want to kill him.

Along the way, he pairs up with fellow survivor Imogen. But she enjoys killing the living dead far too much. Will she kill Jason in her blood thirst? Or will she hinder his journey through this zombie filled dystopian landscape to find his pregnant wife?

The Fence is the first in this series of post-apocalyptic military survival thrillers from the torturous mind of former British army nurse, now horror and science fiction novel writer, C.G. Buswell.

Download Now.

Buy the Paperback.

If you would like to contribute to this page, suggest changes or inclusions to this website or would like to send me a photograph then please e-mail me.

Free Book Operation wrath

Free Book.
The death of the Brotherhood will be avenged.
RAF gunner Jason Harper and a team of Special Air Service operators are enraged after the death of their brothers by a terrorist drone strike. They fly into south-eastern Yemen on a Black-op mission to gather intelligence and avenge the death of their comrades.
Can they infiltrate the Al-Queda insurgents' camp, stay undetected, and call down their own drone missile strike and get home safely?
Will they all survive to fight another day?
Operation Wrath is a free, fast-paced adventure prequel to the non-stop action The Fence series by military veteran author C.G. Buswell.
Download for free on any device and read today.

This website is not affiliated or endorsed by The Queen Alexandra's Royal Army Nursing Corps (QARANC) or the Ministry of Defence.

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