Levantine Heritage
The story of a community
Database analysis
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The purpose of this page is to try to layout in tabular form the various social institutions and event timelines to assist would be researchers.

Social institutions | Bornova Church and Cemetery data | WWI dead | 1898 Punta listing | Smyrna engravings | Background info | Family names | Old maps | Former Smyrna photographers listing | Former Smyrna churches listing

There is a tragic story shared by many communities across the world between 1914-1918. Many of the Levantine sons were keen to enlist (group photo), but it appears they suffered especially disproportionate casualties. From a contemporary newspaper announcement of the death of two Smyrna volunteers: ‘News has been received by Messrs Sydney and John Warren of Linthorpe, Middlesbrough, that their brother, Corporal Ralph M. Warren, was killed in action in France on July 30th [1915], and also their cousin, Corporal Cecil P. Rice, has died in Boulogne of wounds received whilst in action.

These two gallant Britishers came with a party of sixteen from Smyrna to serve their King and country, and it is to be regretted that most of them have either been killed or wounded.

In a most sympathetic letter to Mr Sydney Warren, Lieut. John Maxwell, of the 7th Battalion Rifle Brigade, says: - “Your brother was in my platoon, and I regret his loss very much indeed. He was a gallant soldier, and had every quality which I would wish for in a N.C.O. His perfect coolness and reliability would certainly have got him rapid promotion and distinction. His death took place in an attack we had to make through a wood. I can only regret that England has lost a very gallant soldier, whilst I have lost my best N.C.O. and a very good friend.” ’
Based on and in the same order of wall plaque at St. John’s, the heading of the plaque reads:

This tablet is erected by the British community of Smyrna in Honoured and Revered Memory of those of their members who volunteered for active service in defence of their country & lost their lives whilst serving with the British Army in the course of the Great War 1914 – 18

Name / Rank Unit Date (age) at death Relations / notes Buried at
William Reginald Eppstein, Captain Durham light infantry 1918 (27) Son of Maurice Reginald & Lucy Jane Eppstein, volunteered at British Consul. at Smyrna Ypres area, Belgium
Richard Norman Keyser, Lieutenant 3rd East Lanc. Regt. Att Raf 1917 (20) Son of Edward & Ethel Keyser, born at Smyrna Middlesex, England
Clifford Wilfrid Elliot, 2nd Lieutenant 23rd Sqdn., Royal Flying C. 1917
- Arras, France
Eric Cuthbert John Elliot, Lieutenant Royal Flying C 1917 (21) Son of Clifford Francis John & Ada Caroline E, almost certainly the brother of above, possibly same plane Arras area, France
Alfred Edward Holton, Lieutenant Howitzer Bde., Royal Marine Artillery 1919 (28) Son of Francis Charles & Mrs. Emily Jane Holton, born in Boudja and decorated with a Military Cross Boulogne, France
John Arthur Holton, 2nd Lieutenant Royal Field Artillery 1917 (24) Brother of above, father with Ottoman (Aidin) Railways Ypres area, Belgium
Rowland Donald Pengelley, 2nd Lieutenant Royal Engineers 1917 (26) Son of Rowland & Rebecca P., born at Smyrna Ypres area, Belgium
Cecil Pierce Rice, Corporal 7th Bn., Rifle Brigade 1915 (22) Eldest son of Alfred Percy & Edith Amelia R. of Smyrna Boulogne, France
Ralph Max Warren, Lance Corporal 7th Bn., Rifle Brigade 1915
Son of Amos & Madalene Warren of Buca, (information from descendant Dr. R.C.Warren) Ypres area, Belgium
Edward Robert Burn, Rifleman 7th Bn., Rifle Brigade 1915 (22) Son of Robert & Jane Burn (UK) Ypres area, Belgium
Lionel H.C. Vedova, Private 7th Bn., Rifle Brigade 1915 (22) Son of Oscar M. F. & Louisa O. Vedova of Smyrna Ypres area, Belgium
James Sandford Murray, Private 3rd Bn., Gordon Highlanders 1915 (20) Son of Elizabeth K. M. of Florida & the late Rev James Murray, born at Nanse Smyrna, enlisted from Aberdeen Univ. Arras, France

Notes: 1-From a list of Members of the British Protestant Community of Smyrna drawn up by local resident S. Watkins and sent to the Br. Consul Mr. Cumberbatch in 1898, I am able to work out the fathers / families of some of the above war dead were from the Alsancak (Point radius) community such as A.P. Rice (5 members in household) and also possible father A. Warren (then living alone). For the Old Hospital radius (present day Gümrük/Konak?) list there is the probable father match, O. Vedova (also single). There is a possibility these ‘bachelor pads’ were used by the married merchants whose families rested in Buca / Bornova to which they made weekend visits?
2- ‘Nanse’ doesn’t appear in other literature and may not be the name for a neighbourhood in Smyrna. This might be a typo mistake of ‘manse’, a Scottish term for the house of a Presbyterian / Scottish minister, which would fit in with his parentage as his father was a Minister. If this is the case then the former Church of Scotland in Smyrna was on the left side of Basmane Rail Station when facing that building, the very edge of the zone of the Great Fire. This establishment was chiefly engaged with missionary work to the Jews of the city and this mission also had a medical side as shown in this e-book, ‘Smyrna Medical Mission in connection with the Church of Scotland, 1887’.
3- The statistics for the First World War details that of the 8.9 million men mobilised in the British Empire, 908 thousand died. Assuming the same mortality ratio amongst the volunteers from Izmir, over a 100 must have enlisted, this clearly not the case, showing the very high mortality rate amongst the early volunteers.
However later information provided by Mr Redvers Warren with a newspaper clipping detailing the deaths of cousins Warren and Rice, and stating they ‘came with a party of 16 from Smyrna…most of them have either been killed or wounded’. This was in 1915, and it is probable that some of these wounded, returned later to battle, to total the 12 lost listed above. This attrition rate may have been fairly typical of the first wave of volunteers.

In addition a brass plaque on the wall of St. John’s details the circumstances surrounding the death of R. D. Pengelley:

Sacred to the memory of Rowland Donald Pengelley aged 26 Second Lieut. Royal Engineers, the beloved son of Rowland Annesly and Rebecca Pengelley of Boudjah, who was killed in action on the night of August 19th 1917 whilst going to the succour of his men who were in great danger. For this act he was mentioned in a despatch from Field Marshall Sir Douglas Haig for ‘Gallant and Distinguished Service in the Field’.
Also there is a war memorial prominently situated in the Bornova St Mary Magdalene Anglican church yard:
Noel Edmund Giraud
Serjeant 173em regiment de ligne
Killed at Verdun 29 June 1916
Herbert Wilfied Giraud
Corporal 52em Infanterie Coloniale
Killed on the Somme 19 October 1916
Richard Norman Keyser
Lieutenant 3rd East Lancashire Regt.
Attached Royal Flying Corps
Accidentally killed at Hounslow 22 August 1917
Who volunteered on the Outbreak of the Great
War 1914 – 1918 who gave their lives for their country
And for the right justice

The 3 WWII dead buried at Bornova cemetery (Saddler, Scott and Yeoman) are non-Levantine thus not recorded here. However these names in addition to the ones above are also read out in the Remembrance Day ceremony held each year at St. John’s church, Izmir.

For the information on the Italian War Memorial in SS Rosary Catholic Church, Alsancak, click here:
To view the French WWI memorial plaque in the French Consulate, Izmir, click here:

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