Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Rifleman Henry Schonewald 1888

With such an unusual name, there was only one possible entry on the CWGC database for Henry although his surname was spelled incorrectly. His brother's name is also on the War Memorial.

Henry Schonewald was born on 10th Dec 1895 in Liverpool, he was baptised in St Peter's on 20th December and the record (below) shows that his parents were Janet and Hermann Carl Schonewald (a hairdresser) they lived on Rathbone Street.


In the 1901 census the family were living at 119 Rathbone Street. The census shows that Hermann was born in Germany but was now a British Subject. Janet was from Scotland. Hermann's occupation was hairdresser and shop keeper (own account). They had 4 sons and 3 daughters at home with them. Henry was the 6th of these 7 children.

BMD records show that Henry's father Hermann died in 1909.

In the 1911 census the family were living at 75 Windsor Street (very near to St James' Church) Henry was at home, aged 15 and working as a stationers apprentice.


After the sinking of the Lusitania (May 1915) there were anti-German riots in Liverpool, in the same week that Henry was killed in Ypres, shops and houses of people with German names were being attacked.
Click here to see a post about the riots on the excellent 'Streets of Liverpool' blog.
Click here to see a post about the riots on the very informative 'Liverpool Remembrance' site.

Henry's service papers have survived. His attestation paper shows that he was in the 6th Battalion, The King's Liverpool Regiment (The Liverpool Rifles) with the regimental number 1888. He volunteered on 7th August 1914, aged 18 years and 8 months and his address at this time was 22 Peel Street (off Belvidere Road by Princes Park).
His occupation was stationers assistant at Central Stationary Co, 19 North John Street.
His height was 5ft 8inches and his weight 9st 3lbs, his physical development 'fair'

He was absent from early morning parade 7am-7:45am on 25th Nov 1914 during training at Salisbury but the punishment awarded is unclear.

Throughout the collection of papers Henry's rank is referred to as either private or rifleman. He embarked on the "SS City of Edinburgh" from Southampton on 24.2.1915 and was killed in action at Ypres on 15.5.1915. In 1919, Henry's personal effects were sent to his mother Janet and consisted of: penknife, canvas belt, chain, wallet, letters, photographs, papers, identity discs, french book, medical card.

Henry's medal card.


UK, Soldiers Died in the Great War, 1914-1919 UK, Soldiers Died in the Great War, 1914-1919

Henry Schonewold
Death Date:
5 May 1915
Death Location:
France & Flanders
Enlistment Location:
King's (Liverpool Regiment)
6th Battalion
Type of Casualty:
Killed in action
Theatre of War:
Western European Theatre

Henry Schonewald was killed in action near Zillebeke. The battalion diary for the day does not mention him by name but has detailed reports from all 4 companies of the battalion that took part in the fighting around Hill 60. Most of the casualties on that day were from German machine gun fire as the companies were moving into their positions - having to cross open ground within 400 yards of the German machine guns. On this day the battalion lost 20 men killed and 68 wounded (other ranks).

Henry Schonewald has no known grave and his name is inscribed on the Menin Gate Memorial, Ypres.

click here to see the CWGC database entry for Henry Schonewald. (his surname is misspelled as SchonewOld)

His family notified the Liverpool Echo of his death and the following notice was published:

The article mentions that two of his brothers were serving, this would have been Robert and Charles as Herman was too young. Charles hadn't gone overseas at this point so we can assume that the brother who was 'progressing favourably' was Robert. 


A Schonewald said...

Henry and Charles are distant relatives - but both are close to my heart. Thank you for this site, thank you for honouring those who died and those who survived to mourn them.

Best Wishes

The Sunderland Schonewalds

Amanda said...

It's always great to hear from relatives of these men, I've added some newspaper cuttings to their profiles that I think you'll appreciate. Amanda