Conflict : WW1
Memorial : Worcester St Stephen's Church
There is no record of this casualty on Commonwealth War Grave Commission or Soldiers Died in the Great War. The birth of Martin Curnock is registered in the December Quarter 1874 under the Droitwich Registration District, his death is registered in the June Quarter 1919, aged 45 under the Worcester Registration District.
The Royal Marine Medal Roll lists a Private Martin Curnock, Royal Marine Engineers, Service No RME/6410/S who was awarded the British War Medal. His date of death is shown as unknown.
Martin Curnock, occupation: Driver., resident and died at Wakeman St., Claines. Buried in Astwood Cemetery on 9th April 1919, aged 45 years. The ceremony was performed by the Reverend ?.L.K. Ford.
Source for additional information: Register of burials in Astwood Cemetery, entry no 40736, available on microfilm at Worcestershire Archives.
The following information has been researched by Geoff Hill:
5 Wakeman Street, Barbourne
Martin Curnock, furniture van carman [furniture remover]
At the same address: his wife, 2 sons and 2 daughters
The British War Medal could be given for 28 days’ mobilised service in the Royal Marines, and death was not a prerequisite. This was the only medal awarded to him.
Royal Marine Engineer (RME) companies were raised early in 1918 to work on construction projects in areas such as Scapa Flow. At the time of the Armistice the number approached 10,000. The men of the RME were mainly recruited from the Inland Water Transport Section of the Royal Engineers (RE), recruits of categories “B” and “C” together with some conscientious objectors. They received some military training and were paid at the same rates as the RE.
Headquarters (HQ) was at Chatham. The other important HQ was at Bedmenham, between Gosport and Fareham for the units employed on Admiralty works at Portsmouth. From the two main camps detachments carried out works in other districts, among them the aerodrome at Scapa Flow and the laying of the oil pipeline from the Clyde to the Forth. After the Armistice a party worked at Ostend supervising 2,000 Belgian workmen repairing war damage and clearing obstructions in the harbour and canal. This post-Armistice visit seems to be the only time any RME served abroad.
Martin Curnock’s Death Certificate gives his date of death as 4th April 1919. The cause of death was noted as morbus Brightii (Bright’s disease); an historic term for nephritis (kidney disease). Secondary cause of death is not discernible, it could be cancer, but the writing is not clear and it may be an abbreviation.
In the absence of any other war records it is difficult to understand how he gained a place on the war memorial. Possibly his medical condition was caused, or exacerbated, by injury received whilst in service with the Royal Marine Engineers and local sympathies supported the inclusion of his name on the memorial.