Linda Benefer has kindly sent us details about her grandfathers, both of whom served at Gallipoli. Frederick Woodhouse and William Jakeman both worked on the Royal Sandringham Estate in Norfolk. At the outbreak of war they enlisted in the 1/5 Norfolk Battalion, the so-called ‘Sandringham Company’, commanded by Captain Frank Beck.
On 12 August 1915 the Sandringham Company suffered heavy losses at Gallipoli when it became isolated in the course of an enemy attack. Linda Benefer explains: ‘I learned that granddad Frederick Woodhouse, who lived in West Newton (and worked at Appleton House as a gardener for Queen Maud of Norway), joined the Expeditionary force which was sent to Gallipoli. But on the day of the great battle of the 12th of August, he had been detailed to act as Quartermaster, and so stayed at base camp.
Later he went to Mesopotamia and saw the war out there, but he came home with dysentery and asthma. On his return he became the postmaster at West Newton, and died in 1959, when I was aged ten. As a small child I recall him talking to me in Turkish, but the meaning was lost on me. He had two daughters, and after the war a son.’
Linda’s other grandfather, William Jakeman, worked as a gardener on the Sandringham Estate. William also served at Gallipoli with the Sandringham Company. He held the rank of sergeant and was detailed as a sentry/sniper on 12 August 1915, the day of the attack. He had gone on ahead, eventually taking up a position in a wood.
William sent word not to advance as he could see Turkish soldiers massing in the area. It is not known whether his message ever reached the company, because the 5th Norfolks advanced in any event. Linda continues the story: ‘My grandfather saw much of the killing, fighting valiantly to defend his position. Later he was sent to France and fought on the Western Front. After the war he returned to Sandringham to work in the Royal gardens until he retired. He died before I was born, and to my knowledge he fathered nine children.’