• Find out how the First World War had an impact on Wedgwood, both as a company and as a family.

Wedgwood and the First World War

  • by Jordan Muncaster

Wedgwood Family Members who fought during the First World War

Theme

(From left to right: Top: Felix, Josiah IV, Josiah V; Bottom: Allen, Cecil, Frank)

 

In total, six Wedgwoods fought in the First World War. Cecil, Felix, Frank, Allen, Josiah IV and Josiah V all participated, with Cecil, Allen and Felix being killed in the conflict.

 

Cecil Wedgwood was sent to the front line, despite being 53 years of age, in 1915, after raising a regiment of soldiers. He was a major and was also previously the first Lord Mayor of Stoke-on-Trent. Cecil was killed at the Battle of the Somme on July 3rd 1916, leaving behind his wife, Lucie and his two children. Cecil's body was never brought home and he was buried in France, where his grave still stands today.

 

Felix Wedgwood was a second lieutenant in 1909. After his cousin Cecil died, he was promoted to temporary captain and then later permanent captain in September 1916. He was killed while on active service in March 1917 and was buried at Pas-de-Calais.

 

Frank Wedgwood worked in recruitment and was based at a Headquarters in Lichfield. As a result, he was able to visit the works in Etruria on a regular basis, and he later succeeded Cecil as the Chairman and Managing Director of the company.

 

Allen Wedgwood obtained a commission in the 8th Battalion Northumberland Fusiliers. He did not like army life, but his talent for map-reading and making, and a sense of locality, made him a valuable officer. He sailed to the Dardanelles on 4th July 1915 and was part of the terrible landing at Suvla Bay. The Battalion was sent to attack a Turkish trench on the night of August the 18th. Allen was seen running forward, followed by his men, and jumping into the trench yelling “Come on boys, let’s see who’s in here!” The next time he was seen, he was on the ground, very pale, and was bleeding badly from a wound on his right shoulder. The man who found him, Clarke, asked if there was anything he could do to help him, and Allen replied “Never mind me, I’m all right.” The next morning, the trench was blown to pieces by the Turkish guns.

 

Josiah Wedwood IV was awarded the DSO (Distinguished Service Order) after his service in the war. He volunteered for the Royal Naval Reserve, holding the rank of Lieutenant-Commander. However, he was later wounded in the Dardanelles campaign in 1915. In 1916, after being promoted to Major, he commanded a machine gun company in the 2nd South African Infantry Brigade and in 1917 he became Assistant Director of Trench Warfare after being promoted to Colonel. A year later he was sent to Siberia, in order to encourage Russia to continue to participate in the war, and to gather intelligence on Bolshevik control of Siberia.

 

Josiah Wedgwood V left school in 1916 and joined the army, following his father and elder brother Charles, who served at Gallipoli, and became an officer cadet in the Royal Field Artillery. Josiah V enjoyed much of his training as a cadet. Despite it being tough and challenging, he learnt to ride and jump bareback with his arms folded, which gave him a great sense of achievement and satisfaction.

Catalogue

Wedgwood Family Members who fought during the First World War