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100th Fountain Club Year: 2018-19
Books & Biogs

'Memoirs of A Camp Follower'

Philip Gosse
First published in March 1934; second edition in 1935
Facsimile reprinted: Naval and Military Press, Uckfield, East Sussex

Memoirs of A Camp Follower

Available from Amazon.co.uk

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Philip Gosse (1879-1959),
one of the original three founder members of The Fountain Club, at the age of fifty, started his life all over again, married, gave up medicine and went to live in Sussex, wrote books about pirates, birds and compiled several biographies. He wrote this book about his experiences in the First World War more than a decade after it had ended. This edition it an exact reprint of the original now that it is no longer in copyright. It was re-issued by Penguin in the Second World War under the more accurate and attractive title of 'A Naturalist Goes to War' and post-war as a hard back.

Philip went to Bart's and 'eventually qualified'. He was a country GP at Beaulieu in the New Forest until war was declared. He had a few patients but during that time he 'ringed' many thousands of wild birds for migration inquiry. The memoirs are not set down from memory but from a box full of letters that he wrote to his parents during the war and his naturalists note book about the birds and beasts that he encountered on the Western Front and in India. He was 35 years old and Territorial Army officer when he was mobilised in in August 1914.

As a retired Royal Army Medical Corps officer, I was a little disappointed at first reading as there was a lot about warblers and wagtails, but not a lot about wounds and warfare. On reflection and re-reading I realised that he viewed the war with a naturalist’s eye. The wildlife were his distraction therapy that kept him sane. He viewed his fellow officers especially those of the RAMC, objectively with compassion, admiration or contempt. He had an extraordinary wartime career.

As a medical officer in a field ambulance he had periods of spare time between his daily duties which were shared with other officers, and intense activity when battles were going on. Regimental Medical Officers were fully employed looking after hundreds of men in and out of the trenches. He was able to dissect small mammals and birds in his spare time and send the specimens to the National History Museum in London. He found a new species of small rodent and it was named after him. There was a plague of rats infesting the trenches and feasting on food debris and the corpses of men and horses. Because of his reputation as an expert on small mammals, he was made 'Rat Control Officer' of the First Army.

Then he was posted to India where he pursued his hobby of collecting mammals and birds with enthusiasm and had a new species of bat named after him. He describes being a patient in hospital with recurrent fever on a couple of occasions. His description of garrison life in India, which seemed untouched by the war, is critical; unfortunately some Regular Army Officers treated Territorial and wartime officers with disdain. Philip volunteered to stay in India for a while to allow others to be demobilised first as by then he had no practice left to go back to, but he was the only one posted back to England, via Macedonia and Italy with his twenty crates of specimens.

This is a really interesting book about one of our founding members. I really liked it and it can be bought on line as a paperback.

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John Richardson

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'The History of Piracy'

Philip Gosse
Dover Publications, Inc. Minneola, New York. 2007
Originally published: London; New York: Longmans, Green. 1932
ISBN-13: 978-0-486-46183-0

The History of Piracy

Available from Amazon.co.uk

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Philip Gosse
was probably the most creative of the three founder members of The Fountain Club. At the age of fifty, he started life all over again, married, gave up medicine and went to live in Sussex and wrote books.

He became an eminent authority on pirate lore and literature. 'The History of Piracy' was one of the most important books on the subject in its time. Tracing the rise of piracy from its ancient beginnings to its ultimate demise at his time of writing, it leads readers down an exciting path of fortune, fame and folly.

Within this exhaustive volume on the 'pirate profession' readers will encounter an unforgettable cast of plundering characters - eccentric, dramatic, but always human. Here are the maritime brigands who challenged even the most powerful nations on the high seas. From the Vikings to the Elizabethan corsairs to the buccaneers of the West, discover who these pirates were, what they did, and ultimately why they disappeared.

It is good to be reminded that the Barbary pirates from Africa were raiding England and Ireland for slaves before Britain got involved with the West African slave trade. Cornish fishing fleets had every man taken as galley slaves and entire villages were emptied of every man, woman and child, possibly leaving only the elderly and weak.

If Philip was writing this fascinating book today, it would be interesting to read what he would have written about the pirates of Somalia hijacking oil tankers for ransom, and the people traffickers of Tripoli on the Barbary Coast sending boat loads of African migrants into the Mediterranean.

This interesting paperback reprint of the original book is readily available on the internet.

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John Richardson

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'The Diary of A Yeomanyry MO
– Egypt, Gallipoli, Palestine and Italy'

Captain O Teichman DSO, MC,
Croix de Guerre, Croce di Guerra, RAMC (TF)

T Fisher Unwin Ltd, London, 1921
Reprinted by The Naval & Military Press Ltd

The Diary of A Yeomanyry MO

Available from Amazon.co.uk

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Oskar Teichman
was one of the first three founders of The Fountain Club and the first Master. In May 1922 he was appointed Clerk for five years and initiated the yearly booklet. He was the Regimental Medical Officer (RMO) of the 1st Worcestershire Yeomanry and was mobilised in August 1914. He had a very distinguished military career being awarded a DSO, probably for leadership, an MC for bravery and a significant medal from both the French and Italians. He wrote these memoirs by November 1920 using fragments of diary notes and press cuttings. The memory was recent and his recall is excellent.

I read his book some time before I knew that he was a member of The Fountain Club. I did not read it all and skipped pages, but got the general idea. I had been disappointed that when he was wounded twice and evacuated to England by sea, he did not describe his injuries, treatment or what it was like to be a patient on a hospital ship when they were at the mercy of German submarines. He was also hospitalized for enteric fever and that too became a gap in his diary.

When I realized that he was one of the three founders of The Fountain Club, I re-read it twice more. He was an immensely brave man. As RMO of a yeomanry (Territorial Army Cavalry) he was right up the front with his men whether fighting mounted or dismounted. His description of the battles of Sulva Bay in Gallipoli are vivid until he sustained a serious injury from a shell fragment. When he had returned from sick leave in England, he was then sent to Eygpt, fighting the Turkish Army, with German air force, artillery and machine gun support for the Turks. They were a formidable enemy and the British and Empire troops had to contend with shortages of water and supplies for long periods. I had no idea that 'The Hong Kong and Singapore Mountain Artillery' and '5th British West Indian Regiment' from the Caribbean were also fighting in his formation! There were lots of Indian troops as well. He was in every action up with his troops until he was again wounded and repatriated to England.

After sick leave he was sent to Italy to be in charge of a medical unit finding out where individual patients had been admitted to local hospitals and getting them back to his unit to convalesce. Oskar was then sent up to the crossing of the Piave river which was the final battle in Italy in 1918 which the Austro-Hungarians were finally defeated and surrendered. The conditions were really primitive and the evacuation of the wounded under shell fire was particularly hazardous.

It is a good read for anyone interested in the military history of the First World War and of the RAMC.

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John Richardson

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Biographical Notes

Philip Gosse

(Last updated 29/1/2019)

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Captain (Retd) Philip Henry George Gosse (1879-1959),
was one of the original three founder members of The Fountain Club.

Philip Gosse

Philip Gosse, drawn by his daughter, Sylvia

Philip came from a very distinguished family of authors and naturalists which must have been an inspiration for him. His Grandfather was Philip Henry Gosse FRS, (1810-1888) who was a naturalist, illustrator of natural history, popularizer of aquaria and the instigator of the first aquarium at the London Zoo. He was also a prolific author. Henry’s Mother was a writer. Henry’s first wife died and his second wife was also an author.

Philip’s Father, Sir Edmund Gosse CB (1849-1928), was a poet, author and critic. He married Ellen Epps in 1875; she was a painter and writer and their marriage lasted over fifty years. He was the Clark lecturer in English literature at Trinity College at Cambridge University and they had many literary and famous friends. Between 1904 and 1914 Edmund was the Librarian at the House of Lords. They had three children, Emily, Philip Henry George (1879-1959), and Laura, known as Sylvia.

Philip was born in London. He was sent to Haileybury & ISC and then sent to a farming school. He was sent for an interview with Philip’s father’s closest friend, Field Marshall Lord Wolseley, Commander-in-Chief of the Army. After the interview the Field Marshall “did not consider me cut out for the profession of arms”. Philip states in the preface to his book, 'The Memoirs of a Camp Follower' that at that stage of his life he wanted to be a zoo keeper or to go abroad to some tropical country and collect specimens for a Natural History Museum. His father had other ideas and offered him the choice of the law, medicine or engineering, none of which attracted him.

Philip went to collect animals, etc, as the naturalist with the Fitzgerald Expedition to the Andes in 1896, when he would have been just 18 years old. Fitzgerald was an American born mountaineer of British parentage. He was financially very well off as when he left Cambridge University without a degree he spent the next five years climbing in the Alps and in New Zealand. He had his own personal Alpine mountaineer to accompany him on his expeditions. Fitzgerald was a modern explorer in that he combined leading and financing a scientific expedition with climbing various unclimbed peaks including Aconcagua in the Andes. The expedition included a geologist, a surveyor, an engineer and a naturalist, i.e. Philip Gosse, and six Alpine Guides. This was in fact Philip’s gap year.

Soon after his return he was sent to Cambridge by his father, and read medicine at Trinity College, going on to Bart's for his clinical training. He confessed that "medicine had not been on his choosing”. He “eventually qualified” MRCS LRCP in 1907 and in 1923 received his MD at Durham University. He held the appointment of house surgeon at the Essex County Hospital, Colchester, and then he was a country GP at Beaulieu in the New Forest until war was declared. He had a few patients but during that time he ringed many thousands of wild birds for migration inquiry.

He was 35 years old and Territorial Army officer when he was mobilised in August 1914. He served in France and Belgium as a Medical Officer before becoming the 'Official Rat Catcher, Western Front': he was then posted India. After the Great War he was a medical referee at the Ministry of Pensions with Oskar Teichman and Hope Clementi-Smith, before joining the Radium Institute in London with Oskar. He became the Medical Superintendent of the Institute and he retired from this post in 1930. He married Irene Marden in 1930 at the age of fifty, gave up medicine and went to live in Sussex.

There is some confusion about how many times he was married, definitely once, or possibly three or four times. However he was a widower when he died.

Philip was a man of many interests, and he is credited with saying that he had “failed in life”, because he had too many interests and that he cultivated a new hobby every few years. He made his mark as a naturalist, and as a historian he published several volumes. In 1898 he published 'Notes on the Natural History of the Aconcaqua Valley', and subsequent works 'Birds of the Balearic Islands' and 'Mammals of Flanders'. He wrote a biography of Charles Waterton, the naturalist, entitled 'The Squire of Walton Hall'. He produced 'The Pirates’ Who’s Who' in 1924, 'My Pirate Library' in 1926, and 'The History of Piracy' in 1932. In 1939 his collection of books on pirates and piracy was presented to the National Maritime Museum, Greenwich.

Philip wrote his book 'Memoirs of a Camp Follower' about his experiences in the First World War more than a decade after it had ended. This was re-issued by Penguin in the Second World War and post-war as a hard back under the more accurate and attractive title of 'A Naturalist Goes to War'.

When he was 62 years old in 1941 he went to work as a research student at Trinity College Cambridge and became a Fellow Commoner.

He had a host of friends in the UK, and all over the world with whom he conducted a large correspondence with wit and enthusiasm.

“He will be remembered again for his interest in The Fountain Club, a dining club of old Bart's men, of which he was one of the founders, and was responsible for its conduct over many years. He remained young in heart and mind, and was active to the end, which came with a sudden illness which overwhelmed him in several days”.

He died in 1959.

The Gosse Archive is held by the University of Leeds.

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John Richardson

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Oskar Teichman

There are gaps in these biographical notes (last updated 5/1/2019) which I will try to fill in in due course

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Oskar Teichman
was one of the first three founders of the Fountain Club and the first Master. In May 1922 he was appointed Clerk for five years and initiated the yearly booklet.

Oskar Teichmane

Oskar Teichman was born in Eltham, Kent, on 1 November 1880, son of Emil Teichmann. He was educated at Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge, and was to maintain an active relationship with the University for the remainder of his life. At the moment I do not know when he was at Bart's. However seven volumes of diaries by Oskar Teichmann concerning travel through Europe and the Crimea, were written between 1901 and 1909. Oskar married Edith Harbord in 1909. He joined the Royal Army Medical Corps (RAMC) Territorial Army in 1911 and served with distinction in the Great War of 1914-1918, being mentioned 3 times in dispatches and severely wounded twice, including receiving a rifle shot in the neck at Gallipolli in 1915. He also served in Egypt, Palestine and Italy, where he was awarded the
Croce di Guerra.

Oskar Teichman with his medical team

Oskar with his medical tam, taken while training in England, possibly before the War or prior to embarkation for Eygpt

He was an immensely brave man. As RMO of The Queen's Own Worcestershire Hussars Yeomanry (i.e. Territorial Army Cavalry), he was right up the front with his men whether fighting mounted or dismounted. His description of the battles of Sulva Bay in Gallipoli are vivid until he was wounded. When he had returned from sick leave in England, he was sent to Eygpt, fighting the Turkish Army, which had German Air Force and machine gun support, and Austrian Artillery. They were a formidable enemy and the British and Empire troops had to contend with shortages of water and supplies for long periods. He took part in the heroic cavalry charge at Huj in Palestine described below. This has been described as the last great cavalry charge in the history of the British Army.

The Charge at HUJ

'The Charge at Huj' in the collection of the Warwickshire Yeomanry Museum, painted by Lady Butler

“The Charge at Huj, or as contemporary records referred to it, The Affair at Huj, took place on 8 November 1917 and involved a small Cavalry force assembled from 1½ Squadrons of the Warwickshire Yeomanry and 1½ Squadrons from the Worcestershire Yeomanry, The Queen’s Own Worcestershire Hussars, charging a ridgeline to the South of the village of Huj, Palestine where a mixed force of German, Austrian and Turkish Artillery and Machine Guns were positioned to stem the advance of the British 60th Division.

Major General Shea, commander of the 60th London Division, appreciated just how difficult it would be for his infantry to take the position and called on the Desert Mounted Corps for assistance. The Troops available were from the two County Yeomanry Regiments serving with the 5th Mounted Brigade of the Australian Mounted Division.

Using a small ridge line to cover their initial advance, the force assembled before splitting into three attacking parties: one squadron attacking the infantry, 1½ squadrons the artillery and machine gunners, and the remainder attacked the Turks held in reserve at the rear of the guns.

All three charges achieved their objectives and the Turkish force, of perhaps 2,000 troops, was routed. Eleven field guns and four machine guns were captured and seventy or so prisoners. However the cost to the two yeomanry regiments involved was high. All squadron leaders were killed or subsequently died from wounds. Of the troops involved twenty-six died and over forty injured and over a hundred horses were killed or maimed and were subsequently destroyed.

The Medical Officer, who followed closely behind the charge, Major Oskar Teichman, writing in the Cavalry Journal in 1936 stated:

“The Charge at Huj had it occurred in a minor war would have gone down in history like the Charge of the Light Brigade at Balaclava. In the Great War when gallant deeds were being enacted on all fronts almost daily it was merely an episode, but as the Official Historian remarks, for sheer bravery, the episode remains unmatched”

After a further period of sick leave Oskar was sent to Italy to be in charge of a medical unit finding out where individual patients had been admitted to local hospitals and getting them back to his unit to convalesce. He was then sent up to the crossing of the Piave river, which was the final battle in Italy in 1918 which the Austro-Hungarians were finally defeated and surrendered. The conditions were really primitive and the evacuation of the wounded under shell fire was particularly hazardous.

Post-war, after working at the Ministry of Pensions assessing the disability of soldiers invalided from the Army, he became the Director of the Radium Institute from 1922-1927. He continued to serve in the Territorial Army in the amalgamated Oxford and Worcester Yeomanry which had been converted into an Artillery unit.

In the photograph below Major Teichman is on the right in the front row.
Past Master Rodger Whitelocke’s great uncle is second from the right in the back row.

Oskar Teichman with his medical team

While pursuing his interests in military history, he contributed to many publications on military and historical topics, including the 'RAMC Journal', 'Cavalry Journal', and Cambridge University publications. He was an active writer, and published 'The Diary of a Yeomanry MO', 1921, 'The Cambridge Undergraduate 100 Years Ago', 1926, 'Pandour Trenck, 1710-1749', 1927, and 'Black Horse Nemo', 1957.

Oskar and his wife had two sons, Phillip Raymond and Dennis Patrick. Both were killed in the Second World War. There were no other children. In 1945 he endowed four scholarships at Caius College and one at Inner Temple in memory of his sons Major Philip Raymond Teichman, MA, killed in action, North Africa, 1942, and Major Dennis Patrick Teichman, MC, MA, killed in action, Normandy, 1944. Dennis was posthumously awarded the Military Cross.

"He went out to save his batman, but no-one went out to save him”

Oskar Teichman died on 21 April, 1959. He left his papers to Bristol University Archives. The collection also contains papers of his father, Emil Teichmann, and brother Eric Teichman. Eric Teichman (born Erik Teichmann) was born in 1884 and educated at Gonville and Caius colleges, Cambridge. After travelling extensively in Russia, he was appointed to the British Embassy in Peking (1907) as an interpreter in the consular service. Despite a riding accident that left him severly hampered, he continued to enjoy riding and shooting as hobbies, and travelled extensively through Central Asia as part of his work. From 1919 until 1935 he rarely left Peking, and rose to the rank of Chinese Secretary, achieving the local rank of Counsellor of Embassy. He retired in 1937, citing ill health after a journey across China, Afghanistan, Turkestan and India from Peking to Delhi, upon which he based 'Journey to Turkistan', published in 1937. Further works by Eric Teichman include 'Travels of a Consular Officer in North-West China', (1921), 'Travels of a Consular Officer in Eastern Tibet' (1922), and 'Affairs of China', (1938). In 1942, he was persuaded to return briefly to China as adviser to the British Embassy at Chungking. He returned to England in 1944. On 3 December 1944, he was shot dead by an American soldier, whom he disturbed poaching in the grounds of his home.

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John Richardson

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Hope Clementi-Smith

(Posted 29/1/2019)

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The Clementi-Smith family
is descended from an Essex rector, John Smith, and his wife Cecelia Clementi. The subsequent family consisted of distinguished colonial servants, clergy and soldiers.

Hope was a medical student at Bart's, qualified MRCS LRCP in 1906 and passed his MB in 1909. He was Clinical Assistant to the Electrical Department.

He joined the Territorial Force before the Great War and so he was available on Mobilization as a Captain, acting Major, with 1st London (City of London) General Hospital, which was stationed in Finsbury. The unit looked after casualties who had been evacuated from the Western Front. Many Bart's doctors and nurses were members of this unit.

Hope married Dorothy Brameld in 1917. He was posted to France and on 30th November in the Battle of Cambrai; he was captured, but was unwounded. He writes in his debriefing after he was released:-

“I had been at Villers-Ghislain for two days and in the morning of 30th November 1917 I was endeavouring to get to my regimental dressing station, when the Germans surrounded me and two other officers. A German NCO took my letter case and money and papers. He did not search me; he asked for them. He said that I would get them returned, but I never did. They then told us to go back towards the German lines, and they came along with us. They treated us decently; nothing to complain about. I was taken to a dressing station near Honnecourt Wood, and helped with the wounded.”

He was repatriated in 1918 through Holland with other RAMC POWs and promoted to Lt-Col on 27th December 1918.

After the war Hope worked as a medical assessor for the Ministry of Pensions at the Windsor Hotel with Oscar Teichman and Philip Gosse before going into General Practice at 58 Sloane Street Chelsea.

There is less known about Hope Clementi-Smith, but I will continue my research.

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John Richardson

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