Guy Warneford Nightingale 1890-1935

Discussion in 'Military Biographies' started by liverpool annie, Apr 25, 2009.

  1. liverpool annie

    liverpool annie New Member

    Remembering today 25th April .........

    Major Nightingale was born in 1890 - he was born in India the son of an English engineer at the time of the Raj and educated at Rugby and Sandhurst before being commissioned into his regiment, the 1st Battalion Royal Munster Fusiliers in the late summer of 1910.

    He served with the regiment in India and Burma - at Gallipoli with the 29th Division, landing from HMT River Clyde on 25th April 1915, and on the Western Front in France.

    In 1919 he went with the 46th Battalion, Royal Fusiliers on the North Russian Expenditionary Force based at Archangel, and was there engaged in fighting the Bolshevik armies.
    In 1921 until March 1922 he was with his regiment with the British Forces in Silesia, Poland.
    From 1922-1923 Major Nightingale served with the 1st Yemen Infantry, in and around Aden and on the Southern Arabian coast.
    His last posting was to the 4th Battalion, Nigeria Regiment, at Ibadan, from 1925 to 1926.

    Guy Nightingale was a Sandhurst man who relished the prospect of going to war but his views underwent a radical readjustment.

    Guy Nightingale seems to have found difficulty in adapting to Peace. He was still in his twenties and had no experience since school except soldiering. He did bits of soldiering about the world, then retired to Somerset as a half-pay Major. He died at the age of 43 in 1935.

    There are differing accounts of his death - one dramatically, says he killed himself with his own service revolver on the twentieth anniversary of the Landing on V Beach. A second obituary suggests a long illness, bravely endured. The death certificate is more prosaic. It gives three causes - cardiac syncope delirium tremens and chronic alcoholism.

    The casualties of war do not all take place on the battlefield

    His mother writing from a Nursing Home in Newbury in 1947 to the former chaplain of the Munsters - writes

    'The mishandling of the RMF broke my Guy's heart - I am glad you saw Guy's grave I shall never cease to miss him. I am 83 now so it will not be long before I see him. I have no family left in England - my daughter, grandchildren and great grandchildren are scattered all over the Empire'

    I hope he is at peace now ......... RIP Guy Nightingale

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  2. Adrian Roberts

    Adrian Roberts Active Member

    Guy Nightingale features in a DVD I have of an Australian programme on Gallipoli.

    V Beach was a scene of absolute carnage; the sea was stained red to 100 yards from the shoreline. Guy Nightingale was the only man to land from HMT River Clyde without any injury whatever. He served throughout the Gallipoli campaign and the Western Front, again never being wounded. But he was a hard man: his letters to his mother did not spare her the brutalities of war, and he hints very strongly that he was not above shooting prisoners or wounded enemy; he shows little compassion even for the wounded of his own men.

    Every soldier has to find a way of coping, but Nightingale seemed to have a harder shell than most. One gets the impression that he was incapable of normal human relationships. Certainly he was utterly dedicated to his regiment, the 1st Munster Fusiliers. When they were disbanded after the war, he had nothing in his life to replace it. Like many other ex-servicemen who knew no other life, he began the long slide into alcoholism and depression.

    Given the suiicide rate among Gulf War and Falklands veterans, this remains a very real danger.
  3. liverpool annie

    liverpool annie New Member

    I heard that there was a movie ... maybe it's the DVD you're talking about Adrian !

    We like to think "our boys " are different from the enemy ... but after reading this book ... it made me stop and think !! ....

    Joanna Bourke's book, An Intimate History of Killing: Face to Face Killing in 20th Century Warfare, explores the entire issue of killing by British, American and Australian troops in the two world wars, and in Vietnam.Bourke, an Australian professional historian, adopts a simple but subversive premise, that "the characteristic act of men at war is not dying, it is killing"As she goes on to observe, "readers of military history books might be excused for believing that combatants found in war zones were really there to be killed, rather than to kill."

    but it's the same in all wars .. I remember being appalled the first time I read the things the British had done in the Boer War .... we weren't taught that in school ... :p Kitchener was a Hero .... our soldiers were heroes ... but then you start reading and talking to others and separating the wheat from the chaff and you end up with an entirely different picture !

    As regards Guy Nightingale .... I feel sorry for him in a way ... that he felt he had to show his bravado to his family .... making them think that he was a "real man " when really he was a flawed human being like the rest of us ! ..... I think he only realised that later !

    I don't know where he's buried .... I'd like to find out though !

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