Gordon Daubeney Gresley Elton was born on 31 December 1888 in Jullundur, India. His father, Alfred George Goodenough Elton, was a Lieutenant-Colonel in the Connaught Rangers, and later commanded a Territorial Battalion of the Warwickshire Regiment. His mother, Rhoda, was the daughter of Colonel Gordon Young in the Indian Army. Gordon, known to his friends as ‘Gordie’ or ‘G’, was the couple’s only child. Gordon was educated at Wellington College and Sandhurst and was commissioned into the Royal Irish Fusiliers as Second Lieutenant in November 1909. He served with the Regiment in India and, in April 1914, was appointed Aide-de-Camp to the General Officer Commanding 4th (Quetta) Division. In October, following the outbreak of the First World War, he resigned his post and returned to England to re-join his battalion.
Redmond Barry ‘Algie’ Neill was born in Dunedin, New Zealand, on 20 November 1880 to the large family of Percival Clay Neill, a merchant, who had emigrated to New Zealand from Belfast in 1863, and his wife, Gertrude Fyans. Algie joined the Royal Irish Fusiliers and served in the Second Boer War in 1901-1903, and on the North West Frontier in India from February 1903 until July 1912. He was stationed in England from August 1912 until May 1913, when he was placed in the reserves and returned to New Zealand. He bought a large sheep farm named Clent Hills near Mount Somers and renamed it Barossa after the famous battle during the Napoleonic Wars. He was one of Jess’s admirers.
Captain Edward John McNeill ‘Ned’ Penrose was born in Ballymena, County Antrim, on 2 October 1888 as the younger of the two children of the Reverend John Trevenen Penrose (1853-1926) and his wife Anne Charlotte Lavinia née McNeill (d. 1933). He was educated at Haileybury College near Hertford before joining the 1st Battalion of the Royal Irish Fusiliers. At the start of the war he was stationed at Shorncliffe as part of the 10th Brigade of the 4th Division. He was one of Jess’s admirers.
Roger Owen Birkbeck Wakefield was born on 20 July 1892 in Farnagh, Moate, County Westmeath, as the eldest child and only son of Edward Wakefield (1862-1920) and Frances Alice née Connolly (1867-1943). He was educated at Moorland House at Heswall, Merseyside, and Repton School in Derbyshire. An enthusiastic sportsman, he won awards in shooting and cricket while at Repton in 1908. He entered Sandhurst in February 1911 and received a commission in the Royal Irish Fusiliers in February 1912. He joined the battalion in Shorncliffe and was promoted Lieutenant in January 1914.
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