Thursday, 2 February 2012

The Greenfield connection

One of the Stornoway casualties of the First World War was Lieutenant Benjamin Greenfield, who served with the Canadian Expeditionary Force until the end of hostilities. The Stornoway Gazette of Friday 6 December 1918 takes up the story.

Lewismen throughout the world will regret the death of Lieut. Benjamin Greenfield, son of the late Rev James Greenfield, Stornoway. The sad event took place in the house of his brother-in-law, Mr J. W. Galloway, Thurso, on the evening of 28 November 1918. On the previous Thursday, he arrive on short leave from France. The cause of death was pneumonia following influenza and this Monday he was buried with military honours at Thurso. There have been countless tragic instances in this war and that of young Greenfield, who went through the battlefields of Africa and France, that he should after all cross the bourne when on a flying visit to his sister in the Far North, after the conflict on the battlefield ceased, would almost occur as striking a form of tragedy too fell to be recorded.

Benjamin was the son of Free Church minister James Greenfield, who gave evidence to the Napier Commission at Stornoway in June 1883. Benjamin appears in the 1891 census, aged 6, as the youngest of five children, these being Maggy J (19), Ellen M (12), John K (11) and Michael Willis (10).

For the record I summarise his military and personal details below.

Date of birth: 6 June 1885
Place of birth: Isle of Lewis
Height: 5 ft 8 in
Complexion: Medium
Eyes: Brown
Hair: Brown
Religion: Presbyterian
Trade / occupation: Civil engineer
Last address in Lewis: Free Church Manse Francis Street

Not married
Next of kin: Mrs Jas Galloway, of Thurso

Military unit: Canadians, also Royal Field Artillery
Service number: 5567
Volunteered at Shorncliffe on 27 August 1916

Date of death: 28 November 1918  at the age of 33
Cause of death: Died of pneumonia at Thurso
Interred: Thurso (Mount Vernon) Cemetery, grave K. 292
Local memorial: Lewis War Memorial

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