yeovil at War

Maurice Arthur Poole

Died of pneumonia in Egypt

 

Maurice Arthur Poole was born in Yeovil during 1900, the younger son of carpenter and joiner Arthur George Poole (1872-1953) and Ellen nee Hull (1871-1947).

In the 1901 census Arthur, Ellen and 5-month old Maurice were recorded living in Orchard Street while their elder son, William Percy (known as Percy), was staying with his grandparents in East Chinnock on the night of the census. In the 1911 census the whole family, including Arthur's parents George and Sarah Ann Poole, were listed at 21 Orchard Street. Arthur gave his occupation as a builder, while both Percy and Maurice, aged 12 and 10 respectively were still at school.

Maurice enlisted in April 1918 (presumably as soon as he turned 18), joining the Royal Air Force as an Air Mechanic 2nd Class. His Service Number was 160690.

The Royal Air Force was founded on 1 April 1918, towards the end of the Great War by merging the Royal Flying Corps and the Royal Naval Air Service.

During May or June 1918 Maurice was posted to 'X' Aircraft Depot, Alexandria, Egypt. The depot was under Lt Col N Goldsmith and received aircraft from England for erection and machines from units in Egypt and Palestine for repair or striking off.

Sadly, in June 1919, Maurice was hospitalised at Aboukir Hospital with double pneumonia. He died on 25 June 1919, aged just 18 years.

The Western Gazette, in its edition of 11 July 1919, reported "Official intimation was received by his parents on Saturday that Second Air Mechanic Maurice Arthur Poole, aged 18, younger son of Mr and Mrs A.G Poole of 21 Orchard Street, has died at Aboukir, Egypt, from double pneumonia. He had been in the Air Force a year last April, and Egypt about 11 months. It was only on Friday that a letter was received from the deceased dated June 17th, stating that he was well and hoped shortly to return home. Much sympathy is felt with Mr and Mrs Poole, especially in view of the fact that their elder son Private William Percy Poole, a telegraphist in the Northumberland Fusiliers died of enteric fever at Basra Hospital, Mesopotamia on Sept. 14th 1918, aged 20 years."

Maurice Poole was interred in Alexandria (Hadra) War Memorial Cemetery, Egypt, Grave B.144, and his name is recorded on the War Memorial in the Borough.

 

For details of Maurice's brother Percy, who died on 14 September 1918, - click here.

 

gallery

 

Orchard Street photographed from near the junction with Huish, around 1895 - when the Poole family lived at No 26.

 

'X' Aircraft Depot, RAF Alexandria & Aboukir, Egypt.

 

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission certificate in memory of Maurice Poole.

 

Alexandria (Hadra) War Memorial Cemetery, Egypt.

In March 1915, the base of the Mediterranean Expeditionary Force was transferred to Alexandria from Mudros and the city became a camp and hospital centre for Commonwealth and French troops. Among the medical units established there were the 17th, 19th, 21st, 78th and 87th General Hospitals and No 5 Indian Hospital. After the Gallipoli campaign of 1915, Alexandria remained an important hospital centre during later operations in Egypt and Palestine and the port was much used by hospital ships and troop transports bringing reinforcements and carrying the sick and wounded out of the theatres of war. This cemetery was begun in April 1916 when it was realised that the cemetery at Chatby would not be large enough. Most of the burials were made from the Alexandria hospitals, but a number of graves of December 1917 were due to the loss of the troop transports "Aragon" and "Osmanieh" which were sunk by torpedo and mine as they entered the port. The cemetery continued in use until December 1919 but later, some graves were brought in from small burial grounds in the western desert, Maadia and Rosetta. During the Second World War, Alexandria was again an important hospital centre, taking casualties from campaigns in the Western Desert, Greece, Crete, the Aegean Islands and the Mediterranean. Rest camps and hostels were also established there together with a powerful anti-aircraft base. Alexandria was also the communications centre for the middle and near east and became the headquarters of the Military Police. The cemetery at Hadra was extended for Second World War burials and was used from 1941. There are now 1,700 First World War burials in the cemetery and 1,305 from the Second World War. The cemetery also contains war graves of other nationalities and some non war burials.