CHRISTIAN PETER TENBOSCH
The following biography was written by Gail Brumfitt, who lives in Australia and therefore felt a special affinity with this casualty, who served with the Australian Imperial Force.
Christian was born in 1889 in San Francisco, California, into a middle class family of mixed origins. His father, John Mary Tenbosch (1857-1940), was born in Holland and emigrated to America when he was 16, arriving in New York on 29 May 1873 as a first class passenger on board the Cuba. His mother Mary Louise Thayer (1860-1941) was born in Louisiana. She was the daughter of Theophilus Thayer (1822-1864 born in Massachusetts) and Georgina Thayer (neé Darno born circa 1832 in Scotland). The 1860 US Census shows that Theophilus and his family were living in Algiers, Orleans, Louisiana, where he was working as paymaster for a railroad company. He owned property worth $10,000 and his personal property was valued at $4,000. Georgina owned property worth $2,000. The Census also shows that Theophilus was the owner of one female slave aged 20. In 1863 Theophilus was drafted to fight in the American Civil War. He died on 2nd January 1864.
John Tenbosch must have married Mary Louise Thayer shortly before the 1880 US Census which shows them living in Portland, Oregon, aged 23 and 19 respectively. John was a grain merchant and employed one servant, 17 year old Toy Fung from China. Approximately ten years later after travelling between America and England, John and his family emigrated to England. The 1891 Census shows the family living at 13 Green Heys Road, Toxteth Park, where John was a corn merchant, aged 34, born in Holland. Mary Louise is aged 30 born in America. Their five children were George aged 10 born in America; Jeanette aged 9 born in Liverpool; John Mary aged 7 born America; Lyman aged 4 born America and Christian aged 2 born America. Mary’s mother, Georgina Thayer, was also living with the family, she was widowed, aged 59 and born in Scotland. The family had three servants, Mary Sullivan a 32 year old nurse born in America, Annie McKelvie a 19 year old housemaid born in Liverpool and Lizzie Pugh a 26 year old cook born in Llanfair, Monmouthshire.
By 1901 Christian was aged 12 and in boarding school at Yarlet Hall, Staffordshire. His parents were living at 25 Alexandra Road, Toxteth Park, and by now had four servants. His father was not at home as he was visiting someone at Leasowe Castle.
In 1908 Christian joined the militia as a Private in the 8th Lancashire Royal Garrison Artillery (RGA) volunteers. He served in this until 1909 when he transferred to the West Lancashire RGA heavy brigade when the Territorials were inaugurated. He “semi” retired from this in 1910. The 1911 Census shows that Christian was most likely working in his father’s expanding business, as he was employed as a grain salesman and was living in Oxford. His parents and brother, John, were living at 24 Abercrombie Square, Liverpool, and again had four servants.
Christian’s elder brother, Lyman, appears to have been a career soldier, who joined the Kings (Liverpool Regiment) and later transferred to the East Surrey Regiment. The London Gazette details several promotions from 2nd Lieutenant to Captain and then from Captain to Major. After WWI, Lyman immigrated to Australia where Australian records show that he served in the Australian Imperial Force (AIF) during the Great War.
Perhaps Christian’s father wanted to expand his business interests into Australia, as at some time between 1911 and 1914 Christian emigrated to Australia. However, shortly after the outbreak of War, on 14th August 1914, he enlisted as a private in the Australian Naval & Military Expeditionary Force. His attestation papers show that he enlisted in Sydney, was an Engineer, aged 25, born in Liverpool*, had a chest measurement of 42 inches, had a dark complexion, with black eyes and black hair, his religion was Presbyterian. His next of kin was his father, John Tenbosch of 10 Wednesbury Road, London.
The Expeditionary Force was first raised between 10th and 18th August 1914. This was the first infantry to depart Australia, arriving at Simpson Harbour, Rabaul, New Guinea in September 1914. Here they defeated the German military garrison and occupied the territory. On 22nd September 1914, at Rabaul, Christian transferred to the 3rd Bn Tropical Force, and on 5th October he was promoted to Lance Corporal. He was discharged on 21st April 1915.
Christian re-enlisted on 17th May 1915 into the 4th Light Horse Brigade at Holsworthy in NSW. This time his attestation papers reveal that he was 26 years, 5 months of age, born Croxteth*, an Engineer. Next of kin was again his father, John Tenbosh of 16 Fenwick Street, Liverpool. He stated that he had served for one year with the 8th Lancashire RGA volunteers, two years with the East Lancashire RGA heavy Brigade and eight months with the Australian Naval & Military Expeditionary Force.
*A note on his attestation papers states “R of H Form shows birth place San Francisco, USA. Soldier arrived in Liverpool when only five months of age.”
The 4th Light Horse embarked in Sydney on the “Suevic” on 13th June 1915. The original Brigade embarked to Egypt during months of May and June 1915. In Egypt additional training occurred at the Heliopolis Camp. The 4thLight Horse was broken up in August 1915, however, it was later reformed. During this time we know that Christian served some time in Gallipoli as he transferred to 8th Field Company of the 5th Division Engineers as a Sapper on 26th October 1915 at Anzac Cove. This was so named when on 29th April 1915 General Birdwood recommended the name after the 25th April 1915 first landing on the beach in the cove bounded by the headlands of Arıburnu to the north and Little Arıburnu, known as Hell Spit, to the south.
On 9th January 1916 Christian disembarked the Manitou at Alexandria. From there he moved on to Tel-el-Kebir, a training centre for the First Australian Imperial Force reinforcements, where on 1st February he was promoted to Lance Corporal. He then moved on to Ismailia where on 5th March he was promoted to 2nd Lieutenant. On 17th June, Christian again embarked on the Manitou at Alexandria, this time bound for Marseilles where he disembarked on 25th June 1916.
The reader may be wondering about Christian’s connection to the Hoylake and West Kirby area. His family appears to have moved around quite often and his service records in 1914 show that his father, as next of kin, was living in London. However, in 1915 service records show that his father’s address was 16 Fenwick Street, Liverpool. When Christian died in 1916 the Liverpool Echo reports that his family were living at 50 Stanley Road, Hoylake. The London Gazette shows that in 1924 his father’s business partnership was dissolved. However, he was to carry on the business alone at 16 Fenwick Street. As such, the Fenwick Street address was perhaps just his business address. Christian’s father died in 1940 at at the time was living at 9 Park Road, West Kirby and so perhaps his family had been living in the Hoylake and West Kirby area prior to 1916 and up until 1940, but his business was based in Fenwick Street, Liverpool.
Birth: 1889 San Francisco USA
Death: 19th July 1916 killed in action age 27
Address: 13 Green Heys Road, Toxteth Park (91); Yarlet Hall, Staffordshire (01); 25 Alexandra Road, Toxteth Park (01 *Parents); 20 Oxford Mews, Oxford (11); 10 Engadine Club, Elizabeth Street, Sydney NSW (14)
Occupation: Grain Salesman, Engineer
Unit: 8th Field Company 5th Division Engineers AIF, formerly 4th Light Horse Brigade and Australian Naval & Military Expeditionary Force
Number and Rank: 2nd Lieutenant 4597 formerly 17, Lance Corporal 661, formerly 206
Medals: Victory, British, 1914/15 Star
Commemorated and Buried: Australian War Memorial, Commemorative Area Panel 25; France: Rue-Petillon Military Cemetery, Fleurbaix I.K.3
Sources: CWGC, LE, BR, London Gazette, Census: 91, 01, 11