The WW1 Roll of Honour:
Surnames S - T

 

Sergeant G/4439 George Frederick Sales

 

4th Bn, Royal Fusiliers.

Killed in Action 21st March 1918, Aged 26.

Commemorated Arras Memorial, bay 3. 

 

George Frederick Sales was born in Marylebone, London, in 1891. He was the only son of George Sales, a general labourer, and his Irish partner Agnes Faulkner (who had assumed the surname of Sales). When George was born the couple lived at 5 Union Street, Marylebone and with them was George's older sister or half-sister Fanny Sales. By 1900 George's mother was no longer with his father, who was then living at 10 Hereford Street and employed as a stoker.

On 30th April 1900 George's father married a widow Susan Jane Tweedy at St. Marylebone Parish Church and the newly-married couple moved to 43 Richmond Street with young George but without Fanny. In 1911 George was still living with his father and step-mother at 57 Harrow Street, Marylebone, and employed as a butcher, while Fanny was living in the Salvation Army Rescue Home, Clapton Road, Hackney, London. In 1915 George's mother Agnes, a hawker, spent some time in St. Luke's workhouse, City Road, London.

George enlisted in Marylebone soon after war broke out and joined the 12th (Service) Battalion of the Royal Fusiliers (City of London Regiment) as Private G4439. The 12th Battalion was formed at Hounslow and then transferred to Shoreham, Sussex. The battalion also practised digging trenches at Chobham Common, Surrey. Final training was completed at Aldershot. Mobilised at Pirbright Camp on 21st August 1915 the battalion went to France on 31st August and 1st September, some via Southampton to Le Havre with the horses, and the rest from Folkestone to Boulogne.

From the Gare Centrale, Boulogne, the entire battalion entrained for Maresquel and marched to billets at Embry. Although not yet acclimatised to the realities of war and no trench experience the battalion was then brought into the reserve for the British assault at the Battle of Loos. From 25th-28th September the battalion was continually under shellfire and without bombs, food and water. Eventually the battalion was forced to retire, but went back fighting. The battalion suffered 261 casualties.

On 2nd October the battalion marched from Fontes to Berguette station, entrained for Godewaersvelde, and marched to Herzeele. On 5th they went by lorry to Vlamertinge, marched to Proven and on to Reninghelst on 11th October. From 15th-19th October the battalion worked on improving the trenches near Vormezeele before moving to Camp A, Hubertushoek, where training took place until 2nd November. November included trench tours near Vormezeele and Verbranden Molen with breaks at Reninghelst, working parties from Hubertus-Hoek, and inspections, training and drill at Eecke and Estmont. Training continued at Estmont until 5th January 1916, after which the battalion returned to the trenches near Ypres and also received further training at Ouderdom.

Most of February was spent attack technique training at Camp D after a trench tour in the Zillebeke dugouts. From 8th-14th March the battalion was in trenches at Sanctuary Wood, and then supplied working parties from Camps C and F at Ouderdom. At the end of March the battalion completed work in the area of Godwaersvelde and began a series of trench tours at Hill 63, Ploegsteert, with breaks at Bulford Camp and Grand Munque Farm. While at Bulford Camp on 30th April the battalion had its first experience of an enemy gas cloud.

On 27th June the battalion marched to Badajos Hutments at Locre and began cable laying at the Kemmel defences. The first two weeks of July were spent in rest and training at Dranoutre and Wakefield Huts, followed by a five-day trench tour. Training continued until the end of the month at Meteren and St. Pierre-en-Gouy.

On 31st July the battalion entrained at Picquigny for Méricourt and marched to Bois des Tailles. From there on 2nd August they moved to bivouac at the sandpits near Méaulte. From the sandpits the battalion went to the Crater trenches at Carnoy and then to the trenches at Bernafay Wood, incurring 34 casualties in four days. From 13th-17th August they were in the trenches between Delville Wood and Guillemont and on the receiving end of an active enemy artillery. Back at the Crater the battalion supported an attack on Guillemont on 18th and from newly acquired trenches there moved to Happy Valley, Bray sur Somme on 22nd for a few days and then on to bivouac near Dernancourt. On 21st August explosions in an ammunition dump caused many injuries among the battalion.

Between 31st August 1916 and 15th March 1917 there are no records detailing where George was. His service record has not survived but his entry in the WW1 Medal Rolls indicates that he was not with the 12th Battalion of the Royal Fusiliers between those dates. It is possible that he was wounded in the actions on the Somme or otherwise unfit for active service. George returned to the Royal Fusiliers on 15th March 1917, briefly to their 22nd (Service) Battalion (Kensington) before being posted to their 4th Battalion on 9th April 1917.

On 23rd, 25th and 30th April 1917, shortly after the 2nd Battle of Arras, the 4th Battalion received in total 345 Ordinary Rank reinforcements and it is likely that George was among them. On 1st May the battalion moved up to the trenches east of Monchy-le-Preux and on 3rd May went into the attack but for little gain. The battalion suffered heavy enemy shelling until 7th May when it withdrew to north of Wancourt. A further attack on 11th May was much more successful. By 15th May the men were in Nissen huts in Simencourt. From 18th May the battalion was in rest at Beaufort with minimal training for three weeks.

In early June the battalion returned to the front line near Arras, and then to the support position before moving to Fosseux on 20th June for training. On 3rd July they moved up to the Reserve Brigade in the forward lines to provide working parties at Beaumetz-lez-Cambrai and from 9th July at Demiecourt. A further trench tour in the Hermies sector and two breaks at Velu took up the rest of July. August included three front line trench tours at Lagnicourt and training at Fremicourt.

On 4th September the battalion moved into Standing Camp at Beaulencourt for two weeks intensive training prior to a move by train from Miraumont to Hopoutre on 18th. On 23rd September they moved from Brandhoek to Ypres South, going into the trenches on the following day. On 26th September the battalion suffered heavy casualties in an attack at the Bremen Redoubt.

The battalion was withdrawn to No. 3 Camp, Vlamertinghe, before going by bus to St. Omer. From here on 4th October they entrained for Bapaume and marched to camp at Vallulart Wood, south of Ytres. After some days in support at Noreuil the battalion was relieved and moved to Vaulx on 23rd October. October ended with the battalion back in the front line at Noreuil.

From 1st-18th November the battalion was in attack training at Favreuil before moving to the line. The Battle of Cambrai began on 20th November, during which the battalion fought very successfully for six days and made considerable inroads into the Hindenburg Line. After returning to the line at Pronville from rest camp for the first seven days of December the battalion moved to camp at Mory but was recalled to the trenches from 12th-17th December. For the rest of December the battalion was firstly at rest in Courcelles-le-Comte and then occupied on trench work at Mory and Merchtel.

From 1st-25th January 1918 the battalion remained at Merchtel in training before returning to the Reserve trenches in the Hindenburg Line. In February the battalion was in the trenches for the entire month in the Cherisy-Fontaine sector. George, however, must have been granted some leave as on 5th February 1918 he married Phyllis May Bell, by Licence, at St. Peter's Church, Loughborough.

The first part of March was spent preparing for an expected German Spring Offensive which began on 21st March. George, who had done well in the Army, being promoted through the ranks from Private to Sergeant, was killed in action on 21st March 1917, aged 26. He had been married for just six weeks.

George is remembered on the Arras Memorial Bay 3 and on the memorial in the former St. Peter's Church building, Loughborough.

Private 51676 Frank Savage

 

8th Squadron, Machine Gun Corps (Cavalry).

Previously 3053 Leicestershire Yeomanry

Killed in Action 2nd April 1918, Aged 23.

Commemorated Pozières Memorial panel 93 & 94. 

Frank Savage was born in 1895 in Shepshed, Leicestershire. He was the son of Harry Savage and his wife Marina Mary Elizabeth (née Ricks) who were married in the Loughborough area in 1886. Frank had four brothers Harry, Charles, Herbert and Walter, and two sisters Emma and Marina.

The Savage family lived at Oakley Wood Cottage, Shepshed, and Frank's father was head gamekeeper to the De Lisle family on the Garendon Estate. By 1911 Frank, aged 16, was a gamekeeper's assistant and probably working with his father.

By 1914 Frank was assistant gamekeeper to the Rt. Hon. Charles Booth of Gracedieu Manor, Thringstone. He enlisted in 1915 and joined the 3/1st Leicestershire Yeomanry (Prince Albert's Own) as Trooper 3053. The 3/1st was formed in 1915 as a 'third line' (a training and draft-supplying reserve for the 1/1st and 2/1st) and was affiliated to 12th Reserve Cavalry Regiment at Aldershot.

Frank was sent to France on 27th October 1915 as part of a draft of reinforcements after the Battle of Frezenburg. He joined the Leicestershire Yeomanry in billets at Fruges, in the Pas de Calais.

Early November was spent digging trenches at Lynde, Ouderdom, Zillebeeke Lake and north of Bielen. From there the Yeomanry moved to Wicquinghem on November 16th and dug trenches at Ebblinghem and Lynde. The regiment remained at Wicquinghem until 14th March 1916.

From 14th March until 6th May 1916 the Leicestershire Yeomanry was in billets at Herly and Rollez before moving to Bourthes. From 15th to 20th May they were in training at Neuilly l'Hôpital, returning afterwards to Bourthes until 24th June. Between 24th June and 4th July the regiment transferred via Crécy en Ponthieu, Berteaucourt-les-Dames and Corbie to Fontaine-sur-Somme, where on 5th July they were sent to clear the battlefield.

From 8th July to 1st August and now back at Corbie they provided working parties to mend the roads at Henencourt and to clear the battlefield at Bécourt. The first five days of August were spent moving back to Bourthes where they remained until 11th September, providing working parties and sniping parties. From 11th September the regiment was continually on the march, which ended when squadrons moved into billets at Lebiez, Torcy and Rimboval in the Pas de Calais on 24th September.

At some point in 1916 Frank was injured. A horse which had broken loose fell into a trench. As Frank tried to rescue the horse some timber hit Frank on the head and he required hospital treatment for his injury. After he recovered he was allowed to come home for some leave before returning to France.

In October 1916 Frank was transferred to the 8th Squadron of the Machine Gun Corps (in the 8th Cavalry Brigade of the 3rd Cavalry Division) as Private 51676.

On 1st October 1916 the 8th Squadron was in billets at Plumoison, Pas de Calais. On 4th October the horses were put under cover and the squadron occupied the villages of Bouin, Plumoison and Marconnelle. On 25th October the squadron moved into winter billets at Offin and Loison-sur-Crequoise. On 18th and 20th December the horses and squadron were inspected, and on 22nd they marched to new billets at Verton. During November and December the squadron underwent training in horse management and dieting, together with gun classes and range finding.

During January 1917 training continued on the sand north of Berck-sur-Mer, with practice in indirect and long range searching fire. On 2nd February the squadron marched to new billets at Crequy. On 15th February a trench party of twelve guns proceeded to Gouy-Servins to be attached to the 11th Canadian Machine Gun Company until 2nd March. On 17th March the squadron took part in a Brigade scheme between Crequy and Avondance and aeroplane control patrols were also practised.

On 5th April the squadron marched to Hesmond and on 7th April via Canche Valley to Frévent. On 8th they proceeded to Gouy-en-Artois where their Division was concentrating.

On 9th April the Division moved forward to the racecourse west of Arras and the squadron was divided, Section 3 going to the 10th Royal Hussars, Section 5 to the Essex Yeomanry and the rest in Brigade reserve with the Royal Horse Guards. The Brigade then moved forward through Arras and bivouacked north of Tilloy-les-Mofflaines. Sections 3-6 then moved to Orange Hill while the Royal Horse Guards with Sections 1 and 2 halted west of the Feuchy-Feuchy Chapel road. Later that day the two leading regiments and machine gun sections withdrew to the Feuchy road.

On 11th April, following an infantry attack the 10th Royal Hussars with Sections 3 and 4 and the Essex Yeomanry with Sections 5 and 6 moved on Monchy-le-Preux and were in action all day. The Royal Horse Guards came under heavy shellfire. Casualties numbered 40 men and 97 horses.

After concentrating near Arras the Brigade then marched to Gouy-en-Artois and between 17th and 19th April marched via Occoches to Capelle, south-west of Hesdin. Between 3rd and 19th May the squadron moved again via Lespinoy, Willencourt, Frohen-le-Petit, Wargnies, and St. Gratien to Hamel and bivouacked ouside Courcelles and Buire.

On 20th May No. 2 section proceeded to a point north of Marquaix to form an anti-aircraft station to protect the Divisional railhead at Tincourt. The squadron also provided another anti-aircraft station between Buire and Courcelles. The squadron then took part in a scheme for dismounted counter-attack with the 8th Cavalry Brigade.

Between 1st and 20th June the squadron was in action firing from the Epéhy sub-sector of the line, with six teams operating at Villers-Faucon. Between 2nd and 17th July they moved via Suzanne, Heilly, Amplier, Estrée-Wamin and Valhuon to Plaine Haute north of Thiennes. Here the horses were inspected and preliminary judging took place for the Divisional horse show.

In August the squadron moved to Houleron and Berguette and the horse show took place at Busnes Chateau. During August there were numerous air raids by the enemy and a gun was mounted at Berguette for protection. On 1st September there was the Cavalry Corps horse show at Ramecourt. The squadron then moved to new billets at Ham-en-Artois and took part in a Brigade scheme against the 7th Cavalry Brigade.

During October and November the Division concentrated in the area of St. Venant before moving via Frevent, Vignacourt and Flesselles to Bray. On 1st December they proceeded by lorry to Bernes and moved into the Le Verguier sector of the line, with the squadron placed at Pieumel Wood. They remained in this area until nearly the end of January 1918.

On 28th January a move began to Meraucourt and during February the squadron provided working parties for trench digging near Jeancourt and Hesbecourt and for building anti-bomb walls around the aerodrome at Flez. On 9th March the squadron camp at Meraucourt was bombed by enemy aeroplanes, causing some casualties.

News was then received that the squadron was to be transferred to the 7th Cavalry Brigade and eight guns moved to Roisel until 14th March. On 17th March the squadron moved to Brie and the men camped in huts north-east of St. Christ. After marching to Cugny on 21st, they moved to Villequier-Aumont and bivouacked in Frières Wood. Guns were then placed to stop the enemy crossing the St. Quentin Canal.

On 23rd March, as part of their Spring Offensive, the enemy attacked and Frières Wood was heavily shelled. After the enemy advanced and surrounded the wood the squadron was ordered to retire through Villequier-Aumont which was also being shelled. They eventually reached Ugny-le-Gay.

On 24th March the retreat was resumed via Caillouel to Dampcourt. On 25th March the squadron was ordered to help hold Appilly village and the bridge over the River Oise, and then to cover the Oise bridges north of Manicamp. Later that day another withdrawal was ordered through Bretigny to Carlepont. On 26th March detachments were sent to Sempigny and Pontoise but the guns were not used. On 27th they moved to Choisy-au-Bac and between 29th and 31st March proceeded north via Avrechy to Sains-en-Amienois.

On 1st April the brigade marched to Gentelles Wood , with one section sent to Rifle Wood and one to Hourges. On the night of the 1st/2nd April they were relieved and moved to a small wood on the Boves-Blangy-Tronville road.

Frank, aged 23, was killed in action on 2nd April 1918.

Sergeant Wakefield, in a letter to Frank's parents wrote: 'He was killed while very bravely doing his duty in stopping the Huns. We were going through a wood with our guns when he was hit in the head by a piece of shell, and died instantly. He was one of our best comrades'.

Frank is remembered on the Pozières Memorial, Panel 93 and 94. He is also commemorated on the memorial in St. Botolph's Church, Shepshed and on the Shepshed War Memorial.


Shepshed War Memorial

Private 13287 Rudolf Schmidt

 

1/5th Bn. Sherwood Foresters (Notts & Derby).

Killed in Action 22nd September 1918, Aged 34.

Buried Bellicourt British Cemetery Aisne, I. J. 12.

Served under the alias Rudolf Smith. Also known as Richard Smith.
 

 

Rudolf Schmidt was born in about 1884, probably in France, the son of Anna Karolina Schmidt. He first appears in British records in the 1891 census, aged seven, as a boarder in the household of George and Elizabeth Anderson at Clumber Park, Worksop, Nottinghamshire. Clumber House was the home of Henry Pelham-Clinton, 7th Duke of Newcastle-under-Lyne, in an area known as The Dukeries, and George Anderson was employed as a houseman there.

Rudolf's mother is said to have been born in Steinmaur, Zurich, Switzerland and at the time of Rudolph's birth, was employed in the Paris household of the Hon. Mrs Frances Kathleen Candy, the Duke of Newcastle's future mother-in-law. The identity of Rudolf's father is not known, although he was said to have been a gardener. When the Candy family returned to England in the late 1880s they offered to bring Anna Karolina and her young son with them, to which she agreed. Anna Karolina Schmidt died in 1890 at the Candy's home in Somerby, Leicestershire.

After his mother's death it was arranged that Rudolf should be placed on the estate of the Duke of Newcastle near Worksop. Rudolph was entrusted to the care of George Anderson, houseman at Clumber, and his wife Elizabeth. The Andersons lived at Gas House Cottages on the estate and had three children of their own, Charles, Fred and Annie.

On 31st January 1892 Rudolf was baptised at the Priory Church of St. Mary and St. Cuthbert, Worksop, his parents being recorded simply as 'Schmidt'. In 1895 Rudolf's foster-mother Elizabeth Anderson died and a year later George Anderson married Sarah Ann Kirby. Sarah Ann looked after not only the Anderson children but also young Rudolf.

Rudolf attended Hardwick village school. When he left school he began training as a joiner in the Clumber estate workshop. From an early age he regularly attended Clumber Catholic Chapel where he became a boy acolyte and later, the adult thurifer. He also played cricket and football for the Clumber Park team and enjoyed cycling, walking, playing cards and billiards. His friends gave him the nickname 'Dolph'.

Rudolf remained living with the Andersons until at least 1914. In 1901 he is described as the Andersons' adopted son, his surname being Smith, and his nationality English. In 1911 he was employed as the house carpenter on the Clumber estate but this time his surname was recorded as Schmidt.

One of his great interests was the Sherwood Rangers Yeomanry Cavalry (Clumber Troop) which he joined in 1909. Over four years Rudolph attended regular training sessions at Normanton Inn and at a variety of training camps including Salisbury Plain.

After war broke out Rudolf enlisted at Worksop on 25th August 1914 under the name of 'Rudolf Schmidt'. He was posted as Private 13287 to the 9th (Service) Battalion of the Sherwood Foresters.

The 9th Battalion was formed at Derby in August 1914 and came under orders of the 33rd Brigade in the 11th Northern Division of the Army. Training took place at Belton Park, Grantham, Lincolnshire, and continued at Frensham, Surrey, from April 1915. The battalion left Frensham on 30th June and sailed from Liverpool on the SS Empress of Britain on 1st July. The ship sailed via Malta, Alexandria and then Lemnos where the battalion transhipped for Gallipoli. They landed at Cape Helles on 21st July and were in the trenches the same night facing the Achi Baba.

On the Gallipoli Peninsula the sanitary and living conditions were exceptionally difficult. Bacillary dysentery, caused by the Shiga bacillus, broke out in epidemic form in August 1915, where in three months it was responsible for a high proportion of the 120,000 casualties evacuated from the Peninsula on account of sickness. On 4th August 1915 Rudolf became ill. He was taken from Gallipoli to Imbros and admitted to No. 25 Casualty Clearing Station. He was then sent to Alexandria and admitted to No. 15 General Hospital on 11th August. On 29th September he was invalided to England from Alexandria on the HS Guildford Castle.

After Rudolf recovered he was posted to the 3rd (Reserve) Battalion of the Sherwood Foresters in Sunderland. This was a training unit and formed part of the Tyne Garrison. He was also promoted to the rank of Lance Corporal.

In February 1916 the Lieutenant Colonel of the 3rd Sherwood Foresters asked for clarification as to who Rudolf was. The agent for the Duke of Newcastle wrote back as follows: 'This man has been allowed to call himself Smith since he joined the Battalion and foolishly stated that he had enlisted under that name. [He had, in fact, enlisted under the surname of 'Schmidt'.] It is impossible to decide the question of his nationality but he has lived all his life in England and is obviously British to all intents and purposes.'

On Valentine's Day 1916 Rudolf, using the alias of 'Richard Smith' (probably to deflect prejudice about Germanic sounding names) married his sweetheart Annie Mabel Constance Belfit, who had been head parlour maid at Clumber House. The wedding took place at the Church of St. James, Hatcham, Lewisham, Kent, near where Annie's parents lived. Annie subsequently moved to Backyard Cottage, Beacon Road, Loughborough and later to 13 Bedford Square.

On 27th March 1916 Rudolf was posted to the 2nd Battalion of the Sherwood Foresters and sent to Flanders. He joined the battalion at Camp N, Poperinghe, where it was in training and providing working parties for the Royal Engineers.

On 6th April the battalion entrained at Hopoutre for Calais and marched to Beaumaris Camp. Further training took place there, including drill on the sands, and battalion sports. On 15th April the battalion left Calais and over the next four days marched via Zutkerque, Merckeghem and Wormhoudt to Camp G, north-east of Poperinghe. After additional training the battalion moved to the Canal Bank on 28th April and formed night working parties.

During May the battalion completed two trench tours and spent several days strengthening the Canal Bank, with breaks at Camp D and Camp O, Poperinghe. In early June they made dugouts on the east and west banks of the canal and from 13th-18th June returned to the trenches. On 19th June the battalion marched to Camp M, Proven, and spent several days burying cable near Elverdinghe and working on the railway near Peselhoek.

On 27th June Rudolf was admitted to No. 3 Canadian Casualty Clearing Station and on the following day to a hospital in Wimereux. He was sent back to England. The reason for his hospitalisation, however, is now illegible.

Between July 1916 and June 1918 Rudolf was reposted a number of times. Although parts of his service record have faded over the years a few details of his movements are still clear.

On 30th June 1916 Rudolf was posted to Training Reserve 12 at Brocton Camp, Staffordshire. While at Brocton he reverted to the rank of Private at his own request. On 3rd March 1917 Rudolf was posted to the 3rd (Reserve) Battalion at Sunderland.

It would appear that at some point in 1917 Rudolf was sent back to France or the Ypres Salient where in October 1917 he was severely wounded. On 20th October 1917 he was admitted to the 1st Southern General Hospital at Birmingham with multiple bomb wounds to his leg and thigh and was not discharged until 28th January 1918. From 25th February until 13th May he was in a hospital at Ripon Camp, Yorkshire. Whether he then returned to Sunderland is unknown.

On 30th June 1918 Rudolf was sent to an infantry base depot and from there on 11th July to the 1/5th Battalion of the Sherwood Foresters in France. At the time the battalion was in the Essars section in Brigade reserve. From 16th-21st July they were at Vaudricourt Wood training, with one day spent digging a cable trench in the forward area. Between 21st July and the end of August the battalion completed five more trench tours in the Essars and Gorre sections.

At the beginning of September the enemy began to withdraw and the battalion took over new positions. On 4th September, after going into the attack, the battalion advanced their positions to the vicinity of Richebourg St. Vaast. After a four-day break in Lapugnoy for training in tactical schemes the battalion entrained on 11th September at Calonne Ricouart for Corbie and marched to Lahoussoye. Training continued there until 19th when the battalion moved to Pontruet. On 20th September they went into the front line at Bertoucourt. On 22nd September the enemy launched an attack and the battalion suffered 28 casualties. Rudolf, aged 34, was one of those killed.

Rudolf was buried in Bellicourt British Cemetery, Aisne, Grave I. J. 12.

Rudolf is remembered on the memorial in the Chapel of St. Mary the Virgin, Hardwick (as Rudolf Schmidt), on the Clamber Park War Memorial (as Richard Smith), on the War Memorial at St. Mary and St. Cuthbert Priory Church, Worksop (as R. Schmidt), and on the Cenotaph in Worksop (as R. Schmidt).

Rudolf's widow Annie gave birth to their son Richard Frank Smith (who became Major Frank Richard Smith M.B.E.) on 20th October 1918. Annie was remarried in 1929 to Herbert Arnold in Loughborough and went to live at Blaby.

Private 40240 Cecil Edward Screaton

 

9th Bn, Leicestershire Regiment.

Previously served as 1189 Leicestershire Regiment

Killed in Action 15th June 1917, Aged 26.

Buried Croisilles British Cemetery, I. E. 9. 

(his Brother Herbert Spencer Screaton also fell see below) 

Cecil Edward Screaton was born in Knottingley, Yorkshire, in 1891 and baptised on 2nd July 1893 at All Saints Church, Asfordby, Leicestershire. He was the son of John Isaac Screaton, a market gardener, and his wife Zillah (née Spencer) who were married on 2nd March 1885 at St. Mary's Church, Wymeswold. Cecil had three brothers John, Samuel and Herbert, and three sisters Margery, Ada, and Dorothy. Another sister Kezia died young. In 1901 the Screaton family lived at 28 Moira Street, Loughborough, but by 1911 had moved to 19 Moor Lane. In 1911 Cecil, aged 19, was a cellarman for the Nottingham Manufacturing Company Ltd. Cecil's parents later moved to 13 Rutland Street.

Cecil enlisted with the Leicestershire Regiment but his date of enlistment is unknown as his service papers have not survived. It is, however, documented that he was sent to France on 28th February 1915 as Private 1189. On this date the 1/5th Leicestershire Regiment went to France and it is possible that at this point Cecil was with the 1/5th Battalion, transferring to the 9th Battalion of the Leicesters at a later date and thus explaining his change of an old territorial service number to Private 40240.

If Cecil was with the 1/5th Leicesters in February 1915 he would have travelled by train to Arneke where he detrained for Hardifort. The Battalion was then held in reserve for, but did not take part in the Battle of Neuve Chapelle. For the whole of April they were in trenches near Wulverghem and subjected to continual sniping by the enemy, and then moved on to Zillebeke, followed by a tour in the area of Mount Kemmel. From July to September 1915 the battalion was in the area of Zillebeeke and Ouderdom, before moving to Hesdigneul in October, La Couture in November and Merville and Thienne in December. January 1916 was taken up with a potential move to Egypt which was aborted at Marseilles, the battalion being returned to Candas, Doullens and the area of Vimy Ridge.

At the opening of the Somme Offensive on 1st July 1916 the 1/5th Leicesters went into the attack at Gommecourt. The 1/5th Battalion remained in the Hannescamps/Bailleulmont area for the following eight months.

Cecil's date of transfer to the 9th Battalion of the Leicesters is unknown but it could have taken place at any time after 29th July 1915 when the 9th Battalion arrived in France.

In France the 9th Battalion was sent to the Bienvillers-au-Bois-Bailleulmont sector where they remained until the onset of the Somme offensive on 1st July 1916. Although ready to support the attack at Gommecourt on 1st July the battalion was not required. Soon afterwards they were sent to trenches at Méaulte north-east of Amiens. Brought back to Fricourt they were in action on 14th July at Mametz Wood and Bazentin-le-Petit Wood. In August they were in the trenches at Arras.

On 18th September the battalion moved to Bernafay Wood, east of Montauban-de-Picardie and on 24th September moved up to the assembly trenches in front of Gueudecourt in preparation for an attack on the following day, being heavily shelled in the process. From 25th to 28th September the battalion took part in the Battle of Morval and sustained considerable casualties. On 2nd October the battalion moved from Bernafay Wood to Bernancourt and on 4th October entrained at 'Edge Station' for Longpré-les-Corps-Saints and then marched to Francières. On 7th October they entrained at Pont Remy for Béthune and marched to Fouquières-lès-Béthune. On 10th October they marched to Sailly-la-Bourse and went into the support trenches in the Hohenzollern Sector where trench mortars from the enemy did considerable damage.

Between 11th October and 15th December the battalion was either in the front line trenches, in the support line or in reserve. On 15th December the battalion was ordered to move to the Montmorency Barracks in Béthune where they stayed until 20th December when they marched to billets in Raimbart. The battalion remained in Raimbart in training until 27th January 1917. On 28th January the battalion marched to Lillers and entrained for Proven, from where they marched to billets in Houdeque-Watou. Training ensued until 13th February when they returned by train to Béthune. On 15th February they were back in the trenches in the Hohenzollern Sector and subjected to heavy enemy artillery fire. The battalion remained there in the front or support line until 27th March when they proceeded via Sailly Labourse to Gaudiemare for training.

From 7th - 15th April the battalion held the Outpost Line at Croisilles before moving to Bailleulval for further training. After a break in Ayette the battalion transferred to Hamelincourt and then to Boiry- Becquerelle where an attack was being planned. On 3rd May the battalion moved forward to attack. Total casualties were 16 officers and 299 ordinary ranks. After the battle the battalion was withdrawn to the Reserve at Quarry St. Leger and then sent for rest and training at Pommier until the end of May. The battalion returned to the trenches on 7th June and it was here, during an attack on the enemy by the 58th Division on 15th June, Cecil, aged 26, was killed in action.

Cecil was buried in Croisilles British Cemetery, Grave I. E. 9. He is remembered on the memorial from Holy Trinity Church Loughborough (now in All Saints Church) and on the Carillon. His name appears on a bell in the Carillon, the gift of the Nottinghamshire Manufacturing Company Ltd, in memory of their employees lost in the war.

Cecil's brothers John, Samuel and Herbert, all served in the war. Herbert, who was also with the Leicestershire Regiment, was killed in 1918. John was with the Royal Field Artillery and the Royal Engineers. Samuel was with the Royal Navy. Both John and Samuel survived the war.

 

Private 235043 Herbert Spencer Screaton

 

1/4th Bn, Leicestershire Regiment.

Killed in Action 11th July 1918, Aged 22.

Buried Fouquieres Churchyard Extension, III. G. 10. 

(his Brother Cecil Edward Screaton also fell see above) 

Herbert standing far left.
Herbert Edward Screaton was born in Asfordby, Leicestershire, in 1896 and baptised on 6th September 1896 at All Saints Church, Asfordby, Leicestershire. He was the son of John Isaac Screaton and his wife Zillah (née Spencer) who were married on 2nd March 1885 at St. Mary's Church, Wymeswold. Herbert's father was originally a domestic gardener but he eventually became a market gardener. Cecil had three brothers John, Samuel and Cecil, and three sisters Margery, Ada, and Dorothy. Another sister Kezia died young. In 1901 the Screaton family lived at 28 Moira Street, Loughborough, but by 1911 had moved to 19 Moor Lane. In 1911 Herbert, aged 14, was training to be a needle maker. Herbert's parents later moved to 13 Rutland Street.

Herbert enlisted at Loughborough in late 1915 or early 1916 and joined the Leicestershire Regiment as Private 4593. He was later renumbered as Private 235043. Although his service record has not survived it is likely that Herbert was initially posted to the 3/4th Reserve Battalion of the Leicestershire Regiment which in 1915 and for most of 1916 trained at Grantham. Records show that Herbert did not go abroad before 1916.

Three drafts of men from the 3/4th Battalion of the Leicestershire Regiment were posted to their 1/4th Battalion in France in 1916, one draft on 16th January, one on 23rd March and one on 1st May. There were other drafts on 14th November 1916 and on 12th and 29th January 1917. Herbert could have been in any one of these drafts.

On 16th January 1916 the 1/4th Battalion was in Marseilles prior to embarking on the HMT Andana to sail to Egypt. The voyage to Egypt, however, was aborted and on 27th January the battalion was ordered to entrain for Pont Remy and march to billets at Buigny l'Abbé. Here the battalion underwent training until 11th February. On 12th February the battalion moved to Puchevillers for additional training and also to work on the railway. The next move was via Fienvillers, Montrelet, and Gezaincourt to Doullens and then Sericourt where training continued until 8th March. On 11th March the battalion moved to Brigade reserve at Camblain l'Abbé. From here on 15th March they moved to the front line trenches opposite Givenchy and Vimy Ridge, in the area of Talus des Zouaves, to relieve the 5th Lincolnshires. On 21st March the 5th Lincolnshires relieved the 1/4th Leicesters and this pattern of reliefs was repeated over the following weeks.

On 23rd April the battalion moved to Mazières and then Savy for training until 9th May. Further moves followed to Le Souich and then Humbercamps for cable laying before a return to the trenches at Foncquevillers on 15th June.

On 30th June the battalion moved to billets in St. Amand-les-Eaux in preparation for the start of the Somme Offensive. On 2nd July the battalion transferred to Hannescamps and was heavily shelled. At Bienvillers-au-Bois on 15th July they launched a gas and smoke attack on the enemy. After a short period in training at Pommier and some work on trench improvement they moved into the trenches at Monchy-au-Bois on 1st August and were again shelled. Apart from a week in the trenches at La Cauchie the battalion remained in the Pommier/Bienvillers area until 28th October. November 1916 was spent training at Drucat, Domvast, and Mondicourt prior to a return to the trenches at Hannescamps in December

After a Christmas break at Souastre the battalion returned to the Hannescamps trenches, going into Brigade Reserve at Bienvillers at the end of the year. Further trench tours followed at Hannescamps in January 1917, with breaks at Souastre. On 27th and 28th January the battalion pushed forward and advanced the front line in operations at Gommecourt.

In February 1917 the battalion took over a new front line facing Monchy-au-Bois and experienced a very heavy enemy bombardment of trench mortars and shells. March began with training at Souastre followed a return to the front line between Hannescamps and La Brayelle before a move over nine days to Flechin took place. April began with training at Flechin and Erny St. Julien followed by a move over several days to Lens, arriving on 18th April. Two trench tours north-west of Lens in the Cité St. Pierre sector took up the rest of April.

In May there was training at Noeux-les-Mines before trench tours in the Lievin sector on 12th and 18th May. Breaks at Red Mill and Fosse 10 included the digging of new trenches. June began with training for an attack which took place on the 8th June and was successful despite 74 casualties. From Brigade support in Lievin the battalion went into the line again west of Lens in the Cité Jeanne d'Arc sector on 10th and on 19th June with a break in between digging trenches. The battalion was in billets at Bouvigny-Boyeffles from 22nd-27th June and took practiced at Marqueffles Farm for another attack.

From the trenches at the foot of Hill 65 on 28th June the battalion advanced in heavy rain and succeeded in their objectives. Another attack on 1st July was also successful. Relieved on 3rd July the battalion was taken by bus to billets at Monchy-Breton and Orlancourt where training and sports took place until 27th July. From Brigade reserve at Noeux-les-Mines the battalion was sent back to the trenches at Hulluch on 28th July.

Between 28th July and 28th November the battalion completed ten trench tours in the St. Elie sector with breaks at Fouquières, Philosophe and Mazingarbe. After this the battalion moved to Noeux-les-Mines for training until 1st December when they returned to the trenches, this time in the Cambrin sub-sector. Here on 12th December the battalion was on the receiving end of an enemy mustard gas attack. On 14th December the battalion went to Beuvry into Divisional Reserve before returning to the line on 20th. Relieved on Boxing Day the battalion moved to Annequin and provided carrying and working parties.

The period from 1st to 18th-January 1918 included two trench tours in the Cambrin sector, rest and training at Beuvry, and working parties to clear the communication trenches at Annequin of snow and water, On 19th January the battalion moved to billets in the tobacco factory at Béthune and from there, on the following day, marched to Mont-Bernanchon. Here training on any large scale was impossible as the ground was under cultivation or water but a certain amount of arms drill and musketry training was carried out. The battalion received orders to work on wiring for the Royal Engineers but this did not begin until 25th as the materials had not arrived. Wiring continued until 1st February when the battalion marched to Busnes.

Training and reorganisation took place at Busnes until 8th February when the battalion marched to Westrehem. The battalion was now ordered to seize the crossing of the River Lys between Delette and Dennebroeucq. This was done and the battalion moved to Coyecque to continue training until 1st March.

On 1st March the battalion began a four-day move via Flechin, Manqueville and Noeux-les-Mines to the trenches in the Cambrin south sector. On 7th March they shot down an enemy propaganda balloon which contained a copy of Gazette des Ardennes. Several days in Brigade support at Annequin and Sailly-Labourse followed when the men provided working parties. After this there was a return to the trenches in the Cambrin north sector where they were shelled by the enemy. Following a break at Beuvry the battalion went into the front line in the Hohenzollern sector. Here they were heavily trench-mortared by the enemy who endeavoured to break through the front. As the enemy was now expected to attack between Hill 70 and La Bassée the battalion was ordered to move to the Hill 70 sector.

Relieved on 6th April the battalion moved to Les Brebis for a rest and to provide working parties. Returning to brigade support on 9th April the battalion suffered an enemy gas attack. After a brief return to the front line the battalion was relieved on 12th April and began a three-day move to Bois de Froissart Camp, Hersin, where a large number of men were sent to hospital suffering from influenza. On 26th April the battalion marched to Fouquières and into brigade support near Essars which was shelled on 29th and 30th April.

During the night of the 2nd/3rd May the battalion relieved the 5th Lincolnshires in the left sub-sector of Essars. On 4th May the enemy put down a heavy barrage and two Ordinary Ranks were killed and 120 wounded.

On 6th May the battalion was relieved and marched to Vaudricourt where the men attended a workshop for repairs to boots and clothing and their rifles and Lewis guns were inspected by the Armourer Sergeant. On 9th May the battalion, now in Divisional reserve, was ordered to move into position north of the Béthune-Beuvry road as an attack was expected.

When the attack did not happen the battalion returned briefly to Vaudricourt before going into the front and support line trenches in the Gorre left sub-sector. While they were there the battalion headquarters was hit by enemy gas bombs and all the Officers and men there were affected. On 18th May the battalion returned to Vaudricourt. Men who had been in contact with gas went to the Field Ambulance to have their clothes disinfected in a Thresh disinfector and some men were sent to hospital. Back at Vaudricourt there were lectures on gas and tests in a gas chamber.

The battalion returned to the support trenches in the Gorre sector on 24th May and on the following day at one point enemy gas shells fell every two or three minutes, forcing the men to wear their gas masks. The trench tour ended on 30th May after some heavy enemy trench mortaring and machine gun fire.

During June the battalion completed trench tours in the front and support lines at Essars where they experienced further enemy gas shell attacks. When the front was quitter they provided working, salvage and carrying parties, repaired a light railway, improved their positions and sent out patrols. While resting at Vaudricourt all their gas respirators were tested at the Gas Hut, Verquin, and a sports and horse show took place.

On 11th July, when the battalion was back in the trenches in the Gorre left sub-sector Herbert was killed in action. He was only 22 years old. He was buried in the Fouquières Churchyard Extension, Grave III. G. 10.

Herbert is remembered on the Woodgate Baptist Church Memorial, Loughborough, and on the Carillon.

Herbert's brother Cecil, who also served with the Leicestershire Regiment, was killed in 1917.

 

Gunner 161964 Thomas Thorold Screaton

 

68th Bty, Royal Garrison Artillery.

Died India 25th December 1918, Aged 28.

Commemorated Delhi Memorial (India Gate) face 1. 

 

Thomas was the son of Thomas & Florence Screaton of Willoughby on the Wolds, husband of Edith Screaton of 50 Howard Street, Loughborough.
need photo

Company Sergeant Major 10217 Walter Sellars

 

6th Bn, Leicestershire Regiment.

Killed in action 27th May 1918, Aged 24.

Commemorated Soissons Memorial.

 

Walter Sellars was born in Loughborough in the summer of 1893. He was the son of Frederick Sellars, a pattern maker in an electrical engineering firm, and his wife Ellen (née Sadler) who were married in Derby in 1883. After they were married Walter's parents moved to Sheffield, but they came to Loughborough in about 1893. In 1901 the Sellars family was living at 38 Morley Street, but they later moved to 135 Nottingham Road and then to 40 Howard Street. Walter had four brothers Frederick, Bertie, John and Leslie and four sisters Lily, Elsie, Madge and Ethel. Two other siblings had died young.

When Walter left school he became a hosiery warehouseman for Towle and Co. He enlisted at Loughborough on 18th August 1914 and joined the 6th (Service) Battalion of the Leicestershire Regiment as Private 10217. He was sent from the Depot to Bordon, near Aldershot, Hampshire where the emphasis was on individual training, squadron and platoon drill. In March 1915 the battalion went into billets in Liphook. In April the 6th Battalion became part of the 37th Division of the Army and concentrated at Cholderton on Salisbury Plain. On 10th June 1915 Walter incurred a regimental entry for misconduct.

On 22nd July the Division began to cross the English Channel arrived in France on 30th July 1915. The Division initially concentrated near Tilques not far from St.Omer. In September the battalion was sent to Berles-au-Bois, south-west of Arras and near the front line. In the months that followed the 6th Battalion did tours in the trenches, alternating with the 8th Leicesters who relieved them. The battalion was engaged in localised operations seeking a tactical advantage and remained in the area around Bienvillers and Bailleulmont until July 1916.

Walter must have been granted leave to England in January 1916 as he was married to Rhoda Steer at Rotherham Register Office on 19th January 1916. Walter had met Rhoda when she was working as a nurse at Loughborough Hospital before war broke out. Walter returned to France after the wedding and Walter and Rhoda's first child was born later that year. Rhoda appears to have left her daughter with her parents at 16 Cadman Street, Wath upon Dearne, as she joined the Territorial Force Nursing Service on 21st August 1916 and was posted to the 5th Northern General Hospital, Victoria Road, Leicester.

On 1st July 1916 Walter's battalion moved from Saulty to Humbercamps, where it was held in reserve for the Somme Offensive which had just begun. On 6th July the battalion marched to Talmas to join the Army's 21st Division. From 7th to 10th July the battalion was in Hengest-sur-Somme, and from there on 10th proceeded by route march, bus and train to Fricourt. Between 14th and 17th July the battalion took part in an attack on and successfully captured Bazentin-le-Petit Wood and village. On 20th July the battalion entrained at Ribemont for Saleux, after which they marched to Hengest. Travelling part of the way in lorries and part of the way on foot they reached Arras on 27th July and relieved the 8th Leicesters in the trenches on 7th August. The remainder of August was spent in the trenches and in billets at Arras. On 15th August 1916 Walter was promoted to the position of Lance Corporal.

On 4th September the battalion left Arras for Liencourt and after a week there for training moved to Fricourt and Bernafay Wood, east of Montauban-de-Picardie. Here from 19th to 24th September the men were employed in the improvement of communication and support trenches in preparation for a forthcoming attack on Gueudecourt. On 25th September the 6th Leicesters moved up to the assembly trenches in order to be ready to support the 8th and 9th Leicesters as they advanced. Progress was made north and east of Gueudecourt but as the Leicesters consolidated their position the village itself and its approaches were heavily bombarded by the enemy. This situation remained the same over the next few days. After the attack the battalion returned to bivouac at Bernafay Wood. On 29th September Walter was promoted to the rank of Corporal.

On 4th October the battalion began a three-day transfer by train and route march to Sailly-Labourse and began trench tours in the Hohenzollern Sector near Vermelles. They remained in the front line, in the support trenches or in Reserve until mid-December when they moved to Auchel. From 21st December 1916 to 28th January 1917 the battalion was in training at Auchel. Training was continued at Houtkerque until mid-February. Trench tours at Noyelles and Vermelles followed until the beginning of April when the battalion transferred to Hamelincourt. From 11th to 13th April the battalion was in action at the start of the Arras Offensive and on 3rd May in an attack on Fontaine-lès-Croisilles.

On the following day the battalion moved to the support posts on the Sunken Road, staying there until 8th May when they moved to the forward posts. Relieved on 11th May they marched to the railway bank and on 12th May to billets in Berles-au-Bois. The remainder of May was spent resting and training in musketry and tactical schemes. From 1st-7th June two companies of the battalion worked on improving C Camp at Moyenville whilst the other two companies worked for the Royal Engineers digging communication trenches in Sunken Road. Following this the battalion returned to the trenches at Croisilles, taking the front line from 11th-19th June. Here they were heavily shelled. From C Camp at Moyenville on 20th June the battalion moved to Hendecourt-lès-Ransart for rest, training and field firing.

Back in Divisional Reserve at Moyenville on 1st July the battalion moved back into the front line and support trenches at Croisilles from 8th July until 1st August. From 1st-9th August there was training at Moyenville as well as working parties at St. Leger prior to another trench tour at Croisilles until 17th. August concluded with training at Hamelincourt and Manin.

In the first two weeks of September there was training, sports and a military gymkhana at Manin. On 16th September the battalion entrained at Savy for Caestre and continued training there and at Fontaine Houck until 25th September. On 26th they moved by bus to a camp on the road between La Clytte and Dickebusch and immediately marched to Scottish Wood and Bedford House. The battalion moved up to the line on the Ypres-Menin Road near Hooge on 30th September.

On October 1st they moved into reserve in Polygon Wood before being relieved for two days. On 3rd October Walter was again promoted, this time to Sergeant. On 4th October the battalion moved to Zillebeke Lake and consolidated in front of Polygon Wood before moving into the line the following day. On 7th October the battalion was heavily bombarded by the enemy. After being relieved on 8th October the battalion marched to Ouderdom, entrained for Ebblinghem and had two days rest in the Blaringhem area. On 11th they went by bus back to Scottish Wood and between 13th and 22nd October worked on road building and provided carrying parties. The remainder of October was spent firstly in a camp that was a sea of mud, then in reserve at the railway embankment, Zillebeke, and then in support and in the front line. There were quite a few casualties every day.

On 4th November the battalion marched to Zillebeke Lake and then to Brewery Camp, Dickebusch, but returned in reserve to the railway dug outs on 9th and covered the front, support and reserve positions in the line on 11th. On 17th November the battalion began a five-day march to Coupigny and then to Monchy-Breton for training. Around this time Walter was granted leave to England, but the precise dates of his leave are unclearly recorded on his service papers.

On 30th November the battalion received sudden orders to march to Savy and entrain for Tincourt. From there they marched via Buire to Villers-Faucon and on 4th December relieved the 7th Leicesters in the front line at Epehy. Four days later the battalion went into reserve at the railway embankment. Three more trench tours took up the remainder of December with breaks at Villers-Faucon and Saulcourt. In the front line it was bitterly cold, with drifting snow up to four feet in the trenches. The battalion finally enjoyed Christmas dinner on 3rd January 1918.

Back in Divisional Reserve on 4th January the battalion provided working parties for tunnelling and construction of dugouts until 15th January when they moved to a camp at Lieramont. Following another trench tour at Epehy where, amid shelling, extensive patrolling was carried out the battalion completed night work on the village defences.

After two more trench tours the battalion proceeded by march and light railway to Haut Allaines on 7th February. Here, as well as resting and cleaning up the battalion was reorganised and took part in range firing practice and other training. They also attended a concert by the Soarers. After moving to Don Camp, Moislains, to join their Brigade the men were inspected by Sir Douglas Haig. Further training followed until 18th February when the battalion returned to camp at Lieramont to work on the Green Line at Rue du Quinconce and then on the Yellow Line at Epehy.

From 1st-7th March every available man was employed constructing posts in Epehy and on the Yellow and Red Lines as well as improving village defences under the Royal Engineers. On 16th March a very successful raid was made on the enemy lines. From 17th-20th March the battalion was in support before being ordered to take up battle positions.

On 21st March the Germans opened their Spring Offensive and broke through part of the British line. The British counter-attacked with tanks. On 22nd March the enemy began an intense bombardment and their snipers began to encroach to the rear of part of the British line. The battalion was forced to fight a rear-guard action and then withdraw to Longavesnes where they were heavily shelled. On this day Walter was promoted to Company Sergeant Major.

Between the 23rd and 30th March the battalion was forced into a withdrawal to Ribemont, Heilly and finally to Allonville. Casualties in the battalion between 21st and 30th March numbered 463.

On 1st April the battalion entrained at St. Roch, Amiens, for Hopoutre and travelled by lorry to Wakefield Camp, Locre. From there they moved via Alberta Camp, Westoutre, to Ramilles Camp, Kemmel, for two days of training. After a further two days at De Zon Camp the battalion proceeded by to light railway trains to the front near Lambton. Here, on 10th April an enemy plane dropped bombs on the battalion's lines and enemy snipers were very active. In spite of enemy interference the battalion completed wiring work for the Royal Engineers before moving to Zillebeke Lake to work on a new line and establish strongpoints from French Farm to Convent Lane. They also prepared unnecessary bridges for destruction, recaptured Image Wood, and repulsed the enemy from an attack on a post.

On 25th April the enemy launched a hostile bombardment with high explosive and gas shells. One gas shell entered the H.Q. runners' dug out and all runners and signallers were gassed. On 28th April part of the battalion formed a defensive flank from Hazelbury Farm to Iron Bridge and was heavily bombarded by the enemy.

Relieved on 1st May the battalion marched via Watou to the Lederzeele area west of Buysscheure and on 4th May entrained at Wizernes for Lhéry. Training then took place at a camp east of Lagery until 12th May. Between 13th and 15th May the battalion proceeded via Bouvancourt and Hermonville and went into the line between Cauroy and Cormicy. Between 21st and 26th May the battalion was in Divisional reserve at D Camp, Chalons-le-Vergeur.

The 3rd Battle of the Aisne began on 27th May and the battalion moved up to the line. Walter, aged 24, was killed in action on that day. His body was never found and he is commemorated on the Soissons Memorial, Aisne.

Walter is commemorated on the Carillon. A bell in the Carillon, presented by the proprietor and employees of Towle and Co. also bears his name.

Walter and Rhoda's second daughter Constance was born in Rotherham in the summer of 1918.

Walter's widow was remarried to Walter Eustace Loveless in Paddington, London, in 1924.

Private 10175 Thomas William B. Sharp

 

2nd Bn, Leicestershire Regiment.

Killed in Action 15th May 1915, Aged 42.

Commemorated Le Touret  Memorial panel 11.

His half-brother Walter Sharp also fell see below.

Thomas William B. Sharp (known as 'Tom Willie' and Sharp being the official spelling of his surname rather than Sharpe) was born in 1873 in Loughborough. He was the son of Thomas Sharp and his wife Hannah (née Priestley) who were married in Leicester in 1870. Tom Willie's mother died in 1878 and his father was remarried in Loughborough in 1879 to Sarah Rose. Tom Willie had one full sister Rebecca, two half-sisters Agnes and Florry, and two half-brothers Walter and Herbert. In 1881 the Sharp family lived at 8 Russell Street, Loughborough, but by 1891 had moved to 2 Wellington Street. Tom Willie's father worked firstly as a mechanic, then became a millwright and after that an engine fitter.

'Tom Willie' Sharp married Phoebe Pratt at Loughborough Parish Church on 16th November 1895 and they had ten children (one dying in infancy). In 1901 Tom, an iron foundry worker, and Phoebe lived at 36 Pinfold Street, Loughborough, but by 1911 they had moved to 21 Salmon Street.

Tom reenlisted at Loughborough on 15th August 1914 with his surname recorded incorrectly as Sharpe. He had already been with the 3rd Battalion Leicestershire Regiment territorial force. He rejoined the 3rd Battalion on 7th September and was sent to France on 19th March 1915 to join the 2nd Leicesters. He was killed in action in a military operation north-east of Bethune on 15th May 1915. He is commemorated on the Le Touret Memorial with his surname again spelt as Sharpe, the version of the name also used on his service record and war medals.

Tom's oldest son Leonard also enlisted and served in the 1/5th Leicestershire Regiment and then the Royal Defence Corps. Unlike his father he survived the war. Thomas's half-brother Walter Sharp who served with 7th Leicestershire Regiment was killed in 1918.

 

Private 26652 Walter Sharp

 

7th Bn, Leicestershire Regiment.

Died of Wounds 9th June 1918, Aged 38.

Buried Choloy War Cemetery Meurthe-Et-Moselle, 148.

His half-brother Thomas William B. Sharp also fell see above.

Walter Sharp was born in 1879 in Loughborough [Sharp being the official spelling of his surname rather than Sharpe]. He was the son of Thomas Sharp and his second wife Sarah Rose who were married on 12th January 1879 at Emmanuel Church, Loughborough. Walter had two sisters Agnes and Florry and one brother Herbert. He also had a half-brother Thomas William B. Sharp (known as 'Tom Willie') and a half-sister Rebecca from his father's first marriage to Hannah (née Priestley). Hannah had died in 1879. In 1881 the Sharp family lived at 8 Russell Street, Loughborough, but by 1901 had moved to 2 Wellington Street. Walter's father worked firstly as a mechanic, then became a millwright and after that an engine fitter. By 1901 Walter was working as an iron moulder in a foundry. After Walter's father died in 1906 the family moved to 27 Rendell Street.

Walter enlisted in Nottingham on 23rd March 1916, aged 36, and joined the Leicestershire Regiment as Private 26652. He was initially sent to the 12th (Reserve) Battalion for training. He was sent to Etaples, France, on 6th July 1916, posted to the 9th Battalion on 13th July and sent to the Somme on 6th August.

During August early 1916 the 9th Leicesters were in the trenches or resting in billets at Arras. After a few days training at the beginning of September the battalion marched to Frevent and entrained for 'Edgehill' station near Dernancourt. On 16th September the battalion moved to bivouac near Fricourt and after two days moved again to bivouac in front of Bernafay Wood.

On 24th September the battalion moved up to the assembly trenches in front of Gueudecourt in preparation for an attack on the following day and was heavily shelled in the process. From 25th to 28th September the battalion took part in the Battle of Morval and sustained considerable casualties - 12 officers and 274 ordinary ranks. Walter was one of those wounded, receiving gunshot wounds in the chest and arms. He was taken to No. 20 Field Ambulance and transferred via Rouen to the hospital ship HMHS Asturias which brought him to the UK.

In March 1917 Walter returned to France to join the 9th Leicesters who in the trenches in the Hohenzollern sector and being subjected to heavy enemy artillery fire. The battalion remained there in the front or support line until 27th March when they proceeded via Sailly Labourse to Gaudiemare for training.

From 7th - 15th April the battalion held the Outpost Line at Croisilles before moving to Bailleulval for further training. After a break in Ayette the battalion transferred to Hamelincourt and then to Boiry- Becquerelle where an attack was being planned. On 3rd May the battalion moved forward to attack. Total casualties were 16 officers and 299 ordinary ranks. After the battle the battalion was withdrawn to the Reserve at Quarry St. Leger and then sent for rest and training at Pommier until the end of May. The battalion returned to the trenches near Moyenville on 7th June and it was here, while helping to wire the front trenches on 17th June that Walter was once again shot in the arm. He was again sent back to England and did not return to France until 19th November 1917.

When Walter returned to the front for the third time he was posted to the 7th Battalion of the Leicestershire Regiment who had just moved from Coupigny to Frevillers for training. On 30th November the battalion received urgent orders to entrain at Savy for Tincourt.

On 1st December 1917 the battalion went into the front and support lines near Tincourt, moving into the support trenches at Epehy on 4th. Back in the front line from the 8th-11th December the battalion installed wiring, improved trenches and dug a new front line. After a break at Villers Faucon they returned to the front line from 16th-20th. On Christmas Eve the battalion returned to the trenches for four days, but were given their Christmas dinner at Saulcourt on 29th December.

The new year of 1918 began with a four day trench tour, followed by training at Lieramont and Haut Allaines until 19th January. On the 20th the battalion moved to Epehy by light railway and began another trench tour before moving into Brigade Reserve at Saulcourt on 28th. On 4th February the battalion moved into support at Epehy. Relieved on 7th February the battalion moved by light railway to Moislains, where training took place until 18th February. The battalion then moved to B Camp, Templeux la Fosse, and worked on the trenches and railway at Flamincourt. From 24th -28th February the battalion was based at Adrian Camp, Villers Faucon, for wiring work and trench digging.

In March it became clear that the Germans were planning a Spring Offensive. On the morning of the enemy assault, 21st March 1918, the 7th Battalion was holding the left hand portion of the front between Pezières and Epehy village when it was attacked by German stormtroopers. The battle for Epehy raged all day. On 22nd March the battalion was ordered to retreat towards the old Somme battlefield of 1916, crossing the Peronne Canal to Aizecourt-le-Bas and Feuillaucourt and taking up position on a ridge to the north of Hem.

On 2nd April the battalion marched to Dranoutre and entrained at St. Roch station, Amiens, posted once more to the Ypres Salient. They proceeded by lorry to Monmouthshire Camp, moving on to Butterfly and Leeds Camps, La Clytte, Chipawa and Scottish Wood Camps and arriving at Manawatu Camp on 11th. On 12th April the battalion went into the trenches, holding the front, reserve and support lines until 17th April during the second major German offensive which had opened on the Lys. In spite of a heavy German attack the battalion held out until relieved on 1st May. Having been withdrawn to Oost Houck they marched to Wizernes on 4th May and entrained for Labery where training took place until 12th May.

On 14th May the battalion marched via Prouilly to the trenches west of Hermonville in the valley of the River Aisne. On 26th May the battalion entered the 2nd Battle of the Aisne, part of the Nivelle Offensive, a Franco-British attempt to inflict a decisive defeat on the German armies in France. Walter was wounded in action on 27th May 1918 and taken to a hospital at Toul, but the wounds proved fatal and he died on 9th June 1918, aged 38.

He was buried in Choloy War Cemetery, near Toul, Meurthe et Moselle, Grave 148.

Walter is commemorated on the memorial in All Saints Church, Loughborough, and on the Carillon.

Walter's half-brother Tom Willie, who also served with the Leicestershire Regiment, was killed in action in 1915.

 

Private 8863 Arthur Sharpe

 

1st Bn, Northumberland Fusiliers.

Died 8th November 1914, Aged 25.

Commemorated Ypres Menin Gate, panel 8 & 12. 

 

Arthur Sharpe came from the relatively large family of six children of Frederick Sharpe, a framework knitter, and his wife Sarah Jane who lived at 2 Court A, Dead Lane, Loughborough.

Arthur joined the Northumberland Fusiliers in October 1906 and served in India. When war broke out in 1914 his battalion was in Portsmouth and was sent to France on 14th August 1914. The battalion was in action at Mons, Solesmes, Le Cateau, the Marne, the Aisne, La Bassée, Messines and the First Battle of Ypres. Arthur died in the First Battle of Ypres.

 

Private 3708 Herbert Sharpe

 

2/4th and 1/4th Bn, Northumberland Fusiliers.

Died of Wounds 19th September 1916.

Buried St Sever Cemetery, B. 22. 43. 

 

Herbert Sharpe was born in Loughborough in 1884, the son of John Sharpe, a framework knitter of 70 Russell Street. Herbert had two brothers Alfred and Arthur and one sister Harriet, all born in Loughborough. According to Commonwealth War Graves Commission records Herbert's mother was called Elizabeth but by 1901 his father, brothers Alfred and Arthur and sister Harriet were living with their father and his wife called Mary at 59 All Saints Road, Leicester. Herbert was not at home on 1901 census night and whether Mary was the mother of the children is not known.

By 1911 all the Sharpe children had left home. Herbert and Alfred were lodging in Meadow Lane, South Normanton, Derbyshire, and both were working as colliery labourers above ground. Arthur had joined the Army and was serving in India with the 1st Northumberland Fusiliers and Harriet, a comb winder for a wool spinning factory, was lodging at 59 Oxford Street, Leicester. Another lodger at 59 Oxford Street was Arthur Bott, a van man for a baker, whom Harriet married the following year, in the same year that John Sharpe died.

The date when Herbert enlisted at Alfreton, Derbyshire, is not known but he joined the Northumberland Fusiliers as Private 3708. He appears to have been posted firstly to the 2/4th Battalion and subsequently to the 1/4th Battalion.

The 2/4th Battalion of the Northumberland Fusiliers was formed at Blyth in late November 1914 and was placed under orders of 63rd (2nd Northumbrian) Army Division in January 1915 and as a 'Second Line' Infantry unit remained at home and took responsibility for coastal defences of the sector Seaham Harbour - Sunderland - Newcastle. King George V inspected the Division at Newcastle on 20th May 1915.

On 26th July 1915 orders were received that 600 was the minimum strength for any 'Second Line' infantry battalion and any men in excess of that number could be taken for overseas service. On 30th November 1915 men in the 2/4th Battalion who had not yet been sent abroad were posted to York. Whether Herbert was sent abroad in July 1915 or sent to York is unknown but if he was sent to France before November 1915 it is likely that he transferred to the 1/4th Battalion at this point.

The 1/4th Battalion was part of the Army's 50th (Northumbrian) Division and between July and October 1915 was in the trenches near Armentières, and subjected to regular enemy shelling and phosphorous bombs. Between trench tours the battalion was in billets at Armentières. At the end of October the battalion moved to Strazeele east of Hazebrouck for machine gun and grenade instruction and attack practice. On 20th December the battalion entrained at Strazeele for Poperinghe and from there marched to Canada Huts near Dickebusch. Between 23rd and 28th December 1915 the battalion was in the trenches near Hill 60 and from January to April 1916 in trenches at Maple Copse and Sanctuary Wood with relief at Poperinghe.

On 1st April 1916 the battalion left the Ypres Salient and marched to Locre, going into the trenches there, with relief periods spent at La Clytte. At the beginning of May training in bombing, gas and bayonet fighting commenced at Méteren in France until 29th May when the battalion returned to the trenches near Locre. At the beginning of July the battalion proceeded to a camp at Brulooze and supplied working parties for laying cables near Vierstraat before returning to La Clytte for further trench tours until mid-August. On 11th August the battalion moved out of 5th Corps Reserve at Méteren and entrained at Bailleul for Doullens. From Doullens the men marched to Naours. Training ensued at Henecourt Wood until 9th September when they left for Becourt Wood two miles east of Albert. A further move to Mametz Wood took place on 13th September.

The date on which Herbert was wounded in action is unknown but it was probably on 15th September at the start of the Battle of Flers-Courcelette. He died from his wounds on 19th September 1916, aged 32. It is likely that he died in a hospital in Rouen as he is buried in St. Sever Cemetery, Rouen, Grave B. 22. 43. His effects were divided between his two brothers and sister.

 

 

 

Private 20070 William Shephard

 

11th Bn, Sherwood Foresters (Notts & Derby Regt.)

Killed in Action 29th June 1918, Aged 34.

Buried Barenthal Military Cemetery, Italy 3 - A. 7.

 

William Shephard was born in Loughborough in 1884 and baptised at Emmanuel Church, Loughborough on 30th July 1884. He was the son of John Shephard and his wife Elizabeth (née Hoe) who were married at St. Andrew's Church, Prestwold, on 18th August 1872. In 1872 William's father was a gamekeeper, but by 1881 he had become a labourer and William's parents had moved to 7 Court A, Woodgate, Loughborough. They later moved to 13 Pinfold Gate, then to 58 Woodgate, and finally to 4 Southfield Road. For over ten years William's father was employed as a labourer at Loughborough Police Station. William had three brothers Thomas, Arthur and Joseph and three sisters Sarah, Annie and Mary. He also had a sister or half-sister Ellen Hoe (afterwards Shephard) who was born before his mother married John Shephard. Five other siblings to William died in infancy.

By 1901 William was earning a living as a cabinet maker By 1911 he had left home and living as a boarder in the Pearson family household at 19 St. Albion's Street, Nottingham. At the end of that year he married Ada Mills in Nottingham and the couple went to live at 81 Gordon Road, Nottingham. Their daughter Hilda was born in 1912, their son John William in the summer of 1914, and their son Arthur in late 1915.

William enlisted in Nottingham soon after the outbreak of war and joined C Coy of the 11th (Service) Battalion of the Sherwood Foresters (Notts & Derby Regiment) as Private 20070. The 11th Battalion was formed at Derby in September 1914 and moved to the Stanhope Lines at Aldershot in December 1914. In February 1915 they transferred to Shorncliffe, Kent, and in May to Bordon, Hampshire.

On 28th July the battalion arrived in Boulogne and marched to Ostrohove Camp. On 29th July the battalion marched to Pont-de-Briques station and entrained for Audricq. The battalion war diary from 1st August - 5th September 1915 is missing but the entry for 6th September 1915 records the battalion as marching from Zutkerque to Campagne.

From Campagne the battalion proceeded via Outtersteen to Erquinghem Bridge and went into the trenches in the La Chapelle-d'Armentières sector. At Armentières there were 32 casualties. Trench tours at Bois-Grenier and on the line between Well Farm and Bridoux Fort followed, with breaks at Fleurbaix, Sailly and Le Croix les Cornex. On 23rd November the battalion began a march via La Couronne to Steenbecque. Training took place here and at Blaringhem until 21st December, followed by a Christmas break at Steenbecque, with a concert and football matches.

The battalion returned to the trenches near Sailly on 15th January 1916 and between that date and 20th March completed six trench tours there, being heavily shelled and also snowed up. On 27th March 1916 the battalion entrained at Lestram for Longeau and marched to Vignacourt and then to Albert.

During April, May and early June there were trench tours at Authuille Wood north-east of Albert, with periods in reserve at Hénencourt, Millencourt, Dernancourt and Albert. In mid-June the battalion spent four days at Framvillers taking part in a trench attack exercise before returning to the defence line at Bouzincourt and then moving into the front line in preparation for the opening of the Somme Offensive.

On 1st July 1916, the first day of the Somme, the battalion formed part of an attack near Ovillers-la-Boiselle and suffered 518 casualties. The residue of the battalion was taken out of the battle and moved to Dernancourt where they entrained for Ailly-sur-Somme. From Ailly they marched to Saleux where they entrained for Boyas. From Boyas they marched to Bruay-la-Bussière where they rested for one week. On 16th July they proceeded to Pernes, entrained for Longeau and marched to Poulainville. The march continued via Pierregot, Baizeux and Contalmaison to Bazentin-le-Petit where the battalion, now reinforced, went into the front line trenches on 29th July. After four days the battalion moved back to the support lines for six days, followed by two days rest at Franvillers.

A further move over four days began on 11th August when the battalion was ordered to the Ypres Salient. They marched to Frenchencourt, entrained for Longpré and marched to Pont-Remy. At Pont-Remy they entrained for Bailleul, and marched to Steenwerck. By 15th August the battalion was in the Reserve area near Ploegsteert, moving up to the front line two days later. Relieved after eight days the battalion moved to billets in Papot for training.

On 2nd September the battalion began another lengthy move back to the Somme. Their route was via Rouge Croix, Staple and Arques to Setques (for further training) and then to St. Omer, by train to Longeau, and by march to Cardonette, Bresle and Black Wood, reaching Contalmaison on 18th September. From dugouts at Contalmaison and bivouacs at Lozenge Wood the battalion spent one day salvaging rifles, ammunition, bombs and equipment and two days identifying and burying 42 bodies in front of Authuile Wood. This was followed by a front line trench tour.

On 1st October the battalion formed part of a force which was successful in capturing the Flers-Le Sars line and six days later supported an attack on Le Sars. The battalion was then sent back to the Ypres Salient via Fricourt, Albert, Longpré and Proven to Ouderdom. On 18th October they took over the Brigade reserve lines at Zillebeke Bund, Ypres, and on 21st the front line trenches at Sanctuary Wood.

The battalion remained on the Ypres Salient for just over a year until November 1917. They completed a number of trench tours at Zillebeke Bund, Hooge, Mount Sorrel, and Hill 60, stood in reserve at Ypres Barracks, and had breaks at Toronto, Halifax, St. Lawrence, Windmill, Micmac, Sherwood and Murrumbridge Camps as well as a stay in billets at Poperinghe. Christmas 1916 was spent in the trenches at Hooge where the battalion nevertheless enjoyed some plum puddings gifted by the ladies of Nottingham. The New Year of 1917 was celebrated at Toronto Camp with a dinner, concert, and football matches.

In late February and early March 1917 the battalion went into training at Nordasques, near Zutkerques, and practised attacks and musketry and completed tactical exercises.

In late March 1917 they took part in Brigade sports and competitions. In May 1917 there was further training at Abeele and in July the men took part in a bullet, bayonet and bombing course at Pinchboom near Meteren.

Further casualties occurred during the trench tours of late 1916 and during the first part of 1917. At Hill 60 in April 1917 the battalion suffered 90 casualties and in June 1917 a further 232. In September 1917 the battalion took part in the Battles of the Menin Road Bridge and Polygon Wood, both part of the Passchendaele Offensive, during which casualty figures reached a total of 194.

Italy was now in desperate need of support from the Allies. In October the Italian army had been defeated at the Battle of Caporetto and pushed back to defensive lines by the River Piave near Venice. In November 1917 the 11th Battalion of the Sherwood Foresters was moved by train with the British Army's 23rd Division to the Veneto region of northern Italy which was crossed by the front between Italy and the Austro-Hungarian Empire. The Division completed concentration between Mantua and Macaria on 16th November and took over the front line at Montello on 4th December. As well as troops France and Britain provided additional support including artillery pieces, machine guns, rifles, and gas masks.

The remainder of 1917 proved fairly quiet for the 11th Battalion and quite a change for the troops who until recently had been fighting in the very different landscape of France and Flanders. Trenches now often had to be cut out of solid rock and it was difficult to find suitable platforms for artillery. Most of their time was spent improving positions and carrying out patrols and raids on the Austrian lines.

In March 1918, XIV Corps, which included the 11th Sherwood Foresters, relieved Italian troops on the front line between Asiago and Canove. The front was comparatively quiet until the Austrians attacked in force from Grappa to Canove in the 2nd Battle of Asiago (15th-16th June 1918), an opening move in the 2nd Battle of the Piave (15th-23rd June).

Though there were some initial Austrian successes both on the plains and on the Asiago plateau, these were not followed up, and by 14th July 1918 it was clear that the last Austrian 'big push' had failed.

William was killed in action on 29th June 1918, aged 34. He was buried in Barenthal Military Cemetery, Italy, Grave 3. A. 7. He is commemorated on the Nottinghamshire County Council Roll of Honour and on the St. Ann's District (Nottingham) Virtual War Memorial

Private 2646 Thomas Joseph Sherriff

 

Leicestershire Yeomanry.

Killed in Action 13th May 1915, Aged 19.

Commemorated Ypres (Menin Gate) panel 5.

 

Thomas Joseph Sherriff was born in Grantham, Lincs. in 1895, the only child of Edward Sherriff, grocer and provision dealer, and Fanny Sherriff (née Whaley) who were married in Grantham in 1894. In 1901 the family lived at 25 and 26 North St, Little Gonerby, Lincs., and by 1911 had moved to 27 Watergate, Grantham (now in 2015 Sergio's Hair Studio). In 1911 Thomas Joseph was a grocer's assistant and between 1911 and 1914 moved to Leicester. Before he enlisted at Leicester he was a cleaver forward of the Loughborough Wednesday Half-Holiday Club.

Thomas Joseph was in the Leicestershire Yeomanry and Corps of Hussars. He was sent to France on 16 February 1915 and killed at the Battle of Frezenberg. He is also commemorated on the war memorial inside the church of St. Wulfram, Grantham.
 

Trooper Sherriff is seen here on the front row, 2nd from right. This picture was taken on mobilisation.

Lance Corporal 53731 Allen Simmons

 

18th Bn. Canadian Infantry (Western Ontario Regt.)

Killed in Action 2nd October 1916,  Aged 26.

Commemorated Vimy Memorial.

 

Allen Simmons was born on 10th December 1889 in Loughborough. He was one of fourteen children of John Caleb Simmons and his wife Maria (née Ward Noon). Allen's parents were married in Loughborough in 1872 and his father was at various times a carpenter's labourer, a road labourer and a labourer for Loughborough Borough Council. Allen had six brothers John, Caleb, George, Thomas, Fred and Arthur and six sisters Mary, Elizabeth, Amy, Maria, Ethel and Florry. Another sibling had died young.

Between 1891 and 1911 the Simmons family lived at 7 Granville Street, Loughborough, but in 1909 Allen, now a labourer, left home when he married Florence Hawley in Loughborough. The couple set up home at 56 Sparrow Hill and by 1911 had two children Arthur and Florence. Allen became a gardener.

It appears that Allen left his wife and young family in May 1913 and sailed from London to Quebec, Canada, on the SS Sicilian. Whether it was his intention that his wife and family would join him later in Canada is unknown but when he enlisted on 2nd October 1914 at St. Thomas, Elgin County, Ontario, he stated that he was unmarried and gave his next-of-kin as his mother. Given that his wife Florence unsuccessfully sued Charles Smith for breach of promise of marriage in June 1914, her action having failed when it transpired that she already had two children for whom she received ten shillings per week, it would appear that that Allen and Florence had separated.

Allen joined the 18th Battalion (Western Ontario) of the Canadian Infantry as Private 53731. The 18th Battalion trained in Canada until 18th April 1915 when they left for England. The battalion disembarked at Avonmouth on 29th April 1915 and arrived at West Sandling Camp near Folkestone the same day. Active training began on 17th May with the emphasis on trench digging skills and continued until 14th September 1915 when the battalion sailed from Folkestone to Boulogne.

By the end of September and throughout October 1915 the battalion was in the trenches at Dranoutre and Wulverghem, south of Ypres. In November the battalion was in Divisional Reserve and in December moved to Vierstraat and then La Clytte, south-west of Ypres. The battalion remained in the Vierstraat area until May 1916 when they moved to Vormezeele, near Ghent. From 2nd to 14th June 1916 they were in action in the Battle of Mount Sorrel near Ypres, defending an arc of high ground on the Salient.

In August 1916 the battalion was again in the La Clytte area but at the beginning of September moved to Albert, Somme. On 14th September the battalion successfully attacked the German front. On 19th September, after resting at Vadencourt, they marched to La Vicogne and on 21st to St. Léger-lès-Domart. On 24th September they were in billets at Vadencourt before moving back to Albert on 25th. At some point in 1915 or 1916 Allen had been promoted to the rank of Lance Corporal.

On the night of the 1st/2nd October 1916 the battalion took over a section of the front line at Courcelette. Allen was killed in action on 2nd October 1916, aged 26. He is commemorated on the Vimy Memorial and on the Carillon.

Allen's daughter Florence emigrated to Portland, Oregon, USA, with her husband Reginald Tomlinson and daughter Pamela in 1947 and took American citizenship.

  

Lance Corporal 11799 Frederick Simmons

 

1st Bn, Leicestershire Regiment.

Died a Prisoner Germany 23rd October 1918.

Buried Hamburg Cemetery, Germany II. F. 13. 

(his Brother Harold Simmons also fell see below) 

Frederick was the son of Mr & Mrs Simmons of 7 Cross Street, Loughborough.
need photo

Lance Corporal 10201 Harold Simmons

 

6th Bn, Leicestershire Regiment.

Killed in Action 7th October 1917, Aged 21.

Commemorated Tyne Cot Memorial panel 50 -51.                     

(his Brother Frederick Simmons also fell see above) 

Harold Simmons was born in Loughborough in 1896 and baptised at All Saints Church, Loughborough, on 9th January 1897. He was the son of Frederick Simmons and his wife Emma (née Pepper) who were married at Holy Trinity Church, Loughborough, on 30th July 1882. Harold's father started out as a carter but became a labourer and then, by 1901, was working as a boatman. Harold had four brothers Samuel, Frederick, Ernest and Lawrence and two sisters Florence, and Clarice. Three other siblings died young. In 1901 the family lived at 53 Ashby Square, Loughborough, but by 1911 had moved to 7 Cross Street. In 1911 Harold, aged 14, was an apprentice iron moulder for hot water engines at the Britannia Foundry, Meadow Lane.

Harold enlisted at Leicester on 20th August 1914 and joined the Leicestershire Regiment as Private 10201. On 24th August he was posted to the 6th (Service) Battalion and sent from the Depot to Bordon, near Aldershot, Hampshire where the emphasis was on individual training, squadron and platoon drill. In March 1915 the battalion went into billets in Liphook. In April the 6th Battalion became part of the 37th Division of the Army and concentrated at Cholderton on Salisbury Plain. On 22nd July the Division began to cross the English Channel and arrived in France on 30th July 1915. The Division initially concentrated near Tilques not far from St.Omer.

In September the battalion was sent to Berles-au-Bois, south-west of Arras near the front line and began a series of trench tours. On 1st October Harold was wounded by gun shots in the knee and buttocks and was sent back to England on the HMHS St. George. By 21st December 1915 he had recovered and was briefly posted to the 3rd (Reserve) Battalion at Patrington near Hull for duty with the Humber Garrison. By 31st December, however, he was on his way back to France from Southampton, having been posted to the 1st Battalion.

Harold joined the 1st Battalion of the Leicesters in billets at Poperinghe. Between January and July 1916 the 1st Leicesters were on the Ypres Salient. From January 3rd to 19th March they were in the trenches at Wieltje, St Jean or Ypres Canal Bank and being heavily shelled by the enemy, with breaks at Camp A. From 19th March until 15th April training took place at Wormhoudt and Camp K and then at a camp near Calais. By 19th April the battalion was back in action at Brielen near Ypres and on 23rd moved to the Canal Bank and the Forward Cottage line. Further trench tours in the same location followed, with breaks at Camp D until mid-June when the battalion moved to L Camp, west of Poperinghe. Here they worked on cable-laying until the end of June. Most of July was spent at Camps K and J training and working on the railway. From Ypres Prison on 23rd July the battalion moved into the front line at Potizje.

On 1st August 1916 they left the trenches at Potizje and on the following day entrained at Proven for France. They reached billets at Lealvillers, Somme, on 4th August and on the following day marched to camp in Mailly-Maillet Wood. A period of training and working parties followed. On 14th August they went into the trenches opposite Beaumont-Hamel, where they remained until 19th when they returned to the Mailly Wood camp. On 27th August they left for Flesselles. Here additional training took place. On 8th September they occupied former German trenches in the area of Trônes Wood on the northern slope of the Montaubon Ridge while in the following days the build-up for a major battle took place.

The battalion took part in the Battle of Flers-Courcelette (15th- 22nd September) incurring grievous losses. They were also in action in the Battle of Morval (25th-28th September). On 28th September Harold was taken to a Casualty Clearing Station and sent to No. 16 General Hospital at Le Tréport. On 11th October he was sent to England.

On 17th October he was posted to the Depot at Leicester and on 31st January 1917 to the 3rd Battalion at Patrington. On 9th February he left Folkestone for France and on 26th February he was reposted to the 6th Battalion, joining them in training at Auchel on 28th.

Training was continued at Houtkerque until mid-February. Trench tours at Noyelles and Vermelles followed until the beginning of April when the battalion transferred to Hamelincourt. From 11th to 13th April the battalion was in action at the start of the Arras Offensive and on 3rd May in an attack on Fontaines les Croisilles.

On the following day the battalion moved to the support posts on the Sunken Road, staying there until 8th May when they moved to the forward posts. Relieved on 11th May they marched to the railway bank and on 12th May to billets in Berles-au-Bois. The remainder of May was spent resting and training in musketry and tactical schemes. From 1st-7th June two companies of the battalion worked on improving C Camp at Moyenville whilst the other two companies worked for the Royal Engineers digging communication trenches in Sunken Road. Following this the battalion returned to the trenches at Croisilles, taking the front line from 11th-19th June. Here they were heavily shelled. From C Camp at Moyenville on 20th June the battalion moved to Hendecourt-les-Ransart for rest, training and field firing.

Back in Divisional Reserve at Moyenville on 1st July the battalion moved back into the front line and support trenches at Croisilles from 8th July until 1st August. On 18th July Harold was appointed a Lance Corporal. From 1st-9th August there was training at Moyenville as well as working parties at St. Leger prior to another trench tour at Croisilles until 17th. August concluded with training at Hamelincourt and Manin.

In the first two weeks of September there was training, sports and a military gymkhana at Manin. On 16th September the battalion entrained at Savy for Caestre and continued training there and at Fontaine Houck until 25th September. On 26th they moved by bus to a camp on the road between La Clytte and Dickenbusch and immediately marched to Scottish Wood and Bedford House. The battalion moved up to the line on the Ypres-Menin Road near Hooge on 30th September.

On October 1st they moved into reserve in Polygon Wood before being relieved for two days. On 4th October the battalion moved to Zillebeke Lake and consolidated in front of Polygon Wood. On 5th October the battalion moved into the front line, and on 7th October the enemy opened a heavy barrage, during which Harold, aged 21, was killed.

The officer commanding Harold's platoon wrote to his parents that Lance Corporal Simmons' death took place on Sunday evening October 7th. A shell burst only a few yards away from him and death was instantaneous. He added: 'I had known your son for a considerable time and found him at all times an excellent soldier and a very conscientious non - commissioned officer. He was always very popular with his companions in the company, and will be greatly missed by all and I am personally very sorry to lose him'.

Harold is commemorated on the Tyne Cot Memorial, Zonnebeke, Panels 50-51.

His brother Frederick, who was also with the Leicestershire Regiment, died a Prisoner of War in 1918.

Private 12318 John Adrian Simmons

 

7th Bn, Leicestershire Regiment.

Death presumed on 22nd March 1918, Aged 22.

Commemorated Pozières Memorial panel 29 -30.                     

 

John Adrian Simmons, known as 'Trix' to his family, was born on 7th August 1895 in Loughborough. He was the son of John Henry Simmons and his wife Martha Adeliza (née Wheatley) who were married at All Saints Church, Loughborough, on 20th April 1889. John had four brothers Frederick, Archie, Reginald and Charles and three sisters Louie, Winifred and Edith. Another brother John Charles had died, aged three, in 1893. John's father was a framework knitter of pants and shirts and also kept the Sub Post Office at Beacon View, Nanpantan, in which by 1911 John's mother assisted. In 1911 John, aged 15, was an errand boy, and by 1914 he had become a baker.

John enlisted on 31st August 1914 at Nottingham and joined the Leicestershire Regiment. He was sent to the depot and on 5th September was posted to the 7th (Service) Battalion as Private 12318. The battalion was sent with the 6th (Service) Battalion to the Badajoz and Salamanca barracks in the Aldershot area where the emphasis was on individual training and squad and platoon drill. The early days of the battalion were rather disorganised and it was not until January 1915 that the battalion was in uniform and inspected by Kitchener. In March 1915 the battalion moved to the Andover area and at the end of April to Perham Down Camp on Salisbury Plain. On 25th June the battalion was inspected by King George V at Sidbury Hill and at the end of July entrained at Ludgershall Sidings near Tidworth. The battalion crossed the Channel from Folkestone on the SS Onward on 29th July.

On 30th July they entrained for Watten and, after a few days' rest, marched to St. Omer.

By 9th August the battalion was bivouacked at Dranoutre in the Kemmel area of Belgium, a short distance from the front line.

After a week in the front line the battalion entrained for Doullens and marched to Bienvillers-au-Bois. Here they began a pattern of one week in the trenches and one week in reserve and breaks in between and were involved in various trench warfare activities in the area of Arras for the rest of the year. The freezing weather of January 1916 made life doubly difficult and in February they were required to take over extra trench areas vacated by the French who were concentrating every effort at the Battle of Verdun. These new trenches eventually included those in front of Bailleulment to the left of existing positions and to the right as far as far as Hannescamps. At the same time the enemy redoubled its efforts in shelling Berles-au-Bois.

When not in the trenches the 7th Leicesters received intensive training in bombing, Lewis gunnery, visual signalling and a host of other activities. In April they were moved to the Doullens area and formed working parties to cut down trees and prepare brushwood for the front line as well as repairing the support trenches in the area. In May they worked on building a new railway line between Le Bret and Bienvillers-au-Bois. Men not building the railway were in the trenches. Towards the end of May the entire battalion returned to the trenches in the Bienvillers-Bailleulmont area.

At the beginning of July 1916 the 7th Battalion moved on to the Somme. They were at Fricourt on 13th July and at Mametz Wood and in the attack on Bazentin-le-Petit on 14th July.

Relieved from Mametz Wood on 16th July the battalion proceeded to Fricourt and then on to Ribemont. On 20th July they began a three day move by train and route march to Moncheux, and two days later marched on to billets at Beaufort. On 28th July the battalion moved again to Agnez-les-Duisans, near Arras, for company training and on 6th August took over a section of battered trenches there. The companies of the battalion took turns in trench work.

On 4th September the battalion marched to Denier. After ten days training at Denier and Sars-le-Bois the battalion entrained for the Somme on 12th September and bivouacked outside Montauban, north-east of Bernafay Wood. On 25th September they fought very bravely and successfully at Gueudecourt in an action which was part of the Battle of Morval.

On 4th October the battalion entrained once more for the north and the countryside of Loos, taking over positions opposite the Hohenzollern Redoubt with rest billets at Mazingarbe, Philosophe, or Vermelles. Training at Cauchy-à-la-Tour and Houtkerque followed from 20th December 1916 until 12th February 1917.

On 13th February the battalion entrained at Proven for Fouquerieul and marched to billets in the tobacco factory in Béthune. Moving on to Labourse they were back in the trenches in the Hohenzollern sector on 15th February, moving up to the front line on 21st February. Breaks from the trenches were taken in Noyelles. In March 1917 the battalion experienced what one soldier called 'the bombardment of our lives'.

On 29th March the battalion entrained at Noyelles for Saulty-L'Arbret and marched to La Cauchie and on to Moyenville. On 4th April the battalion went into the front line at St. Leger Croisilles, with breaks at Moyenville. From 15th to 23rd April the battalion was in training at Bailleulval before returning to the trenches at St. Leger Croisilles. On 28th April the battalion was in action at the Battle of Arleux and on 3rd May in reserve for the 2nd Battle of Bullecourt, moving into the front line on 4th May. From 4th -11th May the battalion suffered from very heavy enemy shelling. From 12th-31st May the battalion was withdrawn for training at Bienvillers. Further training and trench tours followed in the Moyenville area in June, July and August, followed by a break in Hamelincourt.

On 25th and 26th August the battalion marched to Gouy-en-Artois and then Beaufort for training. After a further move to Hauteville for more training and a football tournament and boxing competition, both of which the 7th Leicesters won, on 16th September the battalion entrained at Savy station for Caestre.

On 23rd September the battalion marched to Berthen. On 26th September they moved by bus to Scottish Wood and then to Bedford House as reserve in the forward area. After two days rest at Micmac Camp the battalion was back in the forward area on 29th. The 3rd Battle of Ypres had been raging for two months and the ground was full of water-logged shell holes, which had to be negotiated over duckboards. The 7th Leicesters joined the battle on the night of the 30th September, marching up to Polygon Wood, which had been captured by the Australians. The 9th Leicesters took over positions in the right half of the Polygon sector just outside the wood with the 7th Battalion behind them in support and the 6th Leicesters in reserve.

On 1st October the enemy began a heavy barrage. The Leicesters nevertheless pushed forward. An intense artillery duel followed on 2nd October before the battalion was relieved and marched south-east of Zillebeke Lake to Wiltshire Farm. On 4th October the battalion moved up again to south of Zillebeke Lake, bivouacking there. On the following day they were back in the support line west of Polygon Wood. On 6th October two companies moved up to the front line at Reutel, with the other two companies in support. On 10th October, amid a hostile barrage, the battalion was relieved and moved to Anzac Camp. On the 11th October they entrained at Ouderdom station for Ebblinghem and marched to billets and camp at La Carnois. After four days rest they marched to Les Ciseaux and were taken by bus to dugouts in the railway embankments at Shrapnel Corner. After remaining here until 24th October they moved to B Camp at Chateau Segard for reorganisation and training.

After three days cable laying at Clapham Junction at the beginning of November the battalion returned to B Camp before moving to dugouts on the Zillebeke Bund on 7th November and to the front line on the following day. After returning to A Camp at Chateau Segard on 13th November the battalion moved on to Devonshire Camp in the Reninghelst area and on 17th began a five day transfer by march to Coupigny. On 25th November they moved again to Frevillers for training. On 30th November the battalion received urgent orders to entrain at Savy for Tincourt.

On 1st December 1917 the battalion went into the front and support lines near Tincourt, moving into the support trenches at Epehy on 4th. Back in the front line from the 8th-11th December the battalion installed wiring, improved trenches and dug a new front line. After a break at Villers Faucon they returned to the front line from 16th-20th. On Christmas Eve the battalion returned to the trenches for four days, but were given their Christmas dinner at Saulcourt on 29th December.

The new year of 1918 began with a four day trench tour, followed by training at Lieramont and Haut Allaines until 19th January. On the 20th the battalion moved to Epehy by light railway and began another trench tour before moving into Brigade Reserve at Saulcourt on 28th. On 4th February the battalion moved into support at Epehy. Relieved on 7th February the battalion moved by light railway to Moislains, where training took place until 18th February. The battalion then moved to B Camp, Templeux la Fosse, and worked on the trenches and railway at Flamincourt. From 24th -28th February the battalion was based at Adrian Camp, Villers Faucon, for wiring work and trench digging.

In March it became clear that the Germans were planning a Spring Offensive. On the morning of the enemy assault, 21st March 1918, the 7th Battalion was holding the left hand portion of the front between Pezières and Epehy village when it was attacked by German stormtroopers. The battle for Epehy raged all day. On 22nd March the battalion was ordered to retreat towards the old Somme battlefield of 1916, crossing the Péronne Canal to Aizecourt-le-Bas and Feuillaucourt and taking up position on a ridge to the north of Hem.

John, aged 22, went missing on 22nd March 1918 and was presumed killed in action. He is commemorated on the Pozières Memorial, Somme, Panels 29 and 30, and is also remembered on the war memorial in Emmanuel Church, Loughborough, the roll of honour in St. Mary's in Charnwood Church, Nanpantan, and on the Carillon. He is additionally remembered on his parents' gravestone in Swithland churchyard.

John's brother Archie served in the Leicestershire Regiment and Royal Tank Corps and survived the war.

Private 10003 Gerald Horace Austin Simpkin

 

2nd Bn, Leicestershire Regiment.

Died of Wounds 26th August 1915, Aged 22.

Buried Merville Communal Cemetery, III. U. I. 

 

Gerald Horace Austin Simpkin was born at 27 King Street, Loughborough on 22nd May 1893. He was the only surviving son of Thomas Simpkin, a framework knitter, and his wife Catherine (née Taylor) who were married in Loughborough in 1888. Gerald had two sisters Edith and Teresa - a brother Leonard and another sister Rosetta had died in infancy. The family later moved to 3 Market Place, and then to 10 Mills Yard, Cattle Market. By 1901 Gerald's father had changed his job to that of engineering packer.

Gerald enlisted on 13th August 1914, aged 21, giving his trade as 'Basket Maker'. He was appointed Private 10003 in the 3rd (Reserve) Battalion of the Leicestershire Regiment and after one week at the Depot in Leicester moved to Portsmouth for training. On 19th March 1915 he was transferred to the 2nd Leicesters and sailed from Southampton to France to join his new Battalion.

When Gerald reached his battalion they were recovering from their efforts at the Battle of Neuve Chapelle. The battalion spent the following months alternately in the trenches and involved in military operations (such as a night attack during the Battle of Festubert) or in billets while war training, in the area of Calonne, Vieille Chapelle, and Estaires north-east of Bethune.

On 26th August 1915 Gerald was killed in action at Merville, having received a gunshot in the head. He was deeply mourned by his parents and his two sisters, Mrs. Edith Mee of Regent Street, Loughborough, and Mrs. Teresa Beesley of Armitage Road, Whitwick.

Private 8331 Horace Charles Slater

 

2nd Bn, Leicestershire Regiment.

Killed in Action 15th May 1915, Aged 23.

Commemorated Le Touret Memorial panel 11.

 

Charles Horace Slater, more commonly known as Horace Charles Slater, was born in Loughborough in 1892, the son of John and Serina Slater (née Little) who were married in Portsea, Hampshire, in 1883. Horace originally had three brothers Frederick, Harry and Reuben and one sister Ruth. Reuben, however, who had been a professional soldier with the Sherwood Foresters, died in India in 1912. Horace had also lost his mother who died in 1893. Horace's father at one time had been a Gunner in the Royal Navy's Royal Marine Artillery on the navy vessel Blanche but by 1891 he had become a hosiery dyer and had settled at 8 South Street, Loughborough with his wife and family. His father later moved to 5 Dog and Gun Yard, Loughborough.

Horace joined the army at 18 years of age and was assigned to the 2nd Battalion of the Leicestershire Regiment. By 1911 he was with his regiment in Fort St. George, Madras, India. In August 1914 his battalion was in Ranikhet with the Indian Corps (Gharwal Brigade) in the Meerut Division and was ordered to proceed to France. The troops left Karachi on 21st September and arrived at Marseilles on 12th October 1914. Having travelled north, Horace's battalion went into the trenches at Calonne, near Bethune in the Pas-de-Calais, on 28th October. Between then and 22nd November, when they were relieved, the 2nd Leicesters suffered 90 casualties, of whom 15 were killed.

In a letter to his brother Bill in Spring 1915 Horace wrote: 'Well Bill you say you would like to exchange places, but you would soon want to get out of it as it is murder, but still I go about in the trenches as if there is nothing on, in fact it is no use being any other how, of course they [the enemy] are only 150 yds in front of us'.

The next notable action in which Horace's battalion was involved was the Battle of Neuve Chapelle (10th-13th March 1915) when the British broke through the German lines but were unable to exploit their advantage. The battalion also took part in a night attack during the Battle of Festubert on 15th May during which Horace lost his life.

Private 12833 Harry Smalley

 

8th Bn, Leicestershire Regiment.

Killed in Action 30th July 1916,  Aged 22.

Buried Guillemont Road Cemetery, XII. M. 2.

 

Born in June 1894, Harry Smalley was the son of John Smalley a mechanical engineer from Shepshed, and Maria Smalley (née Wootton) of Loughborough. Harry's parents were married in Loughborough in 1890.

In 1901, when Harry was six, the family was living at number 5 Wards End, Loughborough. Harry had an older brother John, an older sister Dorothy known as 'Dolly', and a younger brother, William. Harry was educated at the Loughborough Grammar School and in 1910 began a period of apprenticeship with Bailey and Simpkin, outfitters, in Loughborough. His apprenticeship was due to expire on the 21st May 1915. By 1911 the Smalley family had moved to 39 Market Place, Loughborough and Harry's father, no longer an engineer, was now a confectioner.

Harry enlisted for short service (three years with the colours) in Loughborough on the 3rd September 1914. He joined the 8th (Service) Battalion of the Leicestershire Regiment on the 24th September 1914 as Private 12833. From the Depot he was sent firstly to Aldershot for training and then to Shorncliffe in Kent at the end of February 1915. In April 1915 Harry's battalion became part of the newly established 37th Division of Kitchener's 2nd New Army and the Division began to concentrate on Salisbury Plain. On 25th June the units were inspected by King George V at Sidbury Hill. On 22nd July the Division began to cross the English Channel and Harry travelled to France on 29th July 1915. Initially the 37th Division concentrated near Tilques.

The 8th Battalion then moved via Watten, Houlie, St. Omer, Eecke and Dranoutre to Wulverghem and Berles-au-Bois, a short distance from the front line. In September 1915 Harry was admitted to No. 49 Field Ambulance with scabies and just over a month later to the same field ambulance with influenza. On 2nd November he was transferred to the Convalescent Depot in Rouen (No. 8 General Hospital). On 8th December he moved to the 37th Infantry Base at Etaples, a holding and training camp. He appears to have stayed at Etaples until 10th July 1916 when he was attached to the 20th Battalion of the King's (Liverpool) Regiment, joining the battalion in the field on 12th July. At the time the 20th King's Liverpool was in the area of Maricourt, south-east of Amiens. On 14th July the battalion was ordered to proceed to Corbie, east of Amiens, and then to nearby Vaux-sur-Somme. On 29th July the battalion was ordered to the assembly trenches near Maurepas amidst heavy gas shelling by the enemy. On 30th July an attack on the enemy was launched in thick mist.

On 5th August 1916 Harry was reported as having gone 'missing' in action on the 30th July by the Officer Commanding the 20th King's Liverpool. His body was recovered; he had died of wounds on or shortly after 30th July 2016, aged 22. Harry's identity disc was returned to his father on the 1st March 1918. Harry Smalley is buried at Guillemont Road Cemetery, Guillemont, Picardy, Grave XII. M. 2. He is remembered on Emmanuel Church's Memorial and Loughborough Grammar School's Roll of Honour as well as on the Carillon.

Harry's brother William joined the RAF on 14th May 1918, aged 17, and served with 153 Squadron. He survived the war.

Private 9835 Thomas Smalley

 

2nd Bn, Cameronians (Scottish Rifles)

Killed in Action 10th March 1915,  Aged 25.

Commemorated Le Touret Memorial panel 15 & 16.

 

Thomas Smalley was a cook with the 2nd Battalion, the Scottish Rifles (the Cameronians). Born in Hucknall, Nottinghamshire, in 1890, he was the youngest son of John Smalley, a coal miner, and his wife Catherine (known as 'Kate'), latterly of 31 Myra Street, Loughborough. Thomas had one older sister Emma and two older brothers John Henry and William who were also both coal miners.

Thomas had been with the military for at least three years when war was declared in August 1914. The 2nd Battalion of the Cameronians, which in 1914 was in Malta, was ordered back to England, landing at Southampton on 22nd September 1914, and came under the orders of the 23rd Brigade, 8th Division. The Division moved to France in November 1914, a badly-needed reinforcement to the BEF.

On 10th - 13th March 1915 the Cameronians took part in the Battle of Neuve Chapelle This battle was originally intended to comprise part of a wider Allied offensive in the Artois region with the aim of reducing the German Salient, but the attack on Neuve Chapelle became a distinct action in its own right. In the initial bombardment more shells were discharged in 35 minutes than in the whole of the Boer War.

This was followed by carefully co-ordinated attacks of hand-to-hand fighting and in four hours the village was secured. The Cameronians, however, suffered terrible casualties. On the first day of the battle 149 of their men died, three of wounds and the rest (146) killed in action. Only three of those who died have a known grave and the rest are commemorated on the Le Touret Memorial (Panel 15 and 16), including Private Thomas Smalley.

Sergeant 1395 Bertie Joseph Smith

 

5th Bn, Leicestershire Regiment.

Died of Wounds 3rd September 1915, Aged 37.

Buried Vlamertinghe Military Cemetery, II. A. 2.

 

Bertie Joseph Smith was born on 29th October 1877 in Belgrave, Leicester, to William Smith, a shoe trade pressman and Eliza Ann (née Headley), who were married at St. Margaret's, Leicester, on 8th September 1874. Bertie was the third eldest of nine siblings (Henry, William, Bertie, Charles, Ellinor, Frederick, Alfred, Jessie and Edwin) and spent his young life at 4 Leire Street, Belgrave, Leicester. Ten years later the family had moved to 64 Leire Street and Bertie, aged 13, was employed as a shoe finisher.

Bertie married Loughborough girl Kate Beck on 26th December 1907 in Loughborough, and they set up home at Asfordby Hill, Melton Mowbray, Leicestershire, where they had a son, Bert Smith, born on 20th July 1909. While living here Bertie worked as Stationary Engineman at the blast furnaces.

Bertie enlisted at Melton Mowbray and joined the 1/5th Battalion of the Leicestershire Regiment as a Sergeant. When he went to fight in the war, his wife Kate and son Bert went to live with her family at 37 Paget Street, Loughborough. All six of Bertie's brothers also joined up to the war effort serving with the army during WW1.

Bertie's battalion set off for France landing at Le Havre on 28th February 1915.The battalion travelled by train via Rouen, Abbeville and St. Omer to Arneke where they detrained for Hardifort. The Battalion was then held in reserve for, but did not take part in the Battle of Neuve Chapelle. For the whole of April they were in trenches near Wulverghem and subjected to continual sniping by the enemy, and then moved on to Zillebeke, followed by a tour in the area of Mount Kemmel. After this they were moved to a slightly different part of the line to relieve the Sherwood Foresters. On 22nd June the battalion was moved back to Zillebeke in the Ypres Salient where they were shelled at least three times a day. Throughout July and August the battalion did several tours in the trenches and also received instruction in the throwing of various kinds of grenades. At the beginning of September the battalion was again on a trench tour, suffering scattered shelling and trench mortaring, when the enemy increased the bombardment, causing many casualties. It was at this point that Bertie Smith of 'B' Company received a severe wound 'to which he succumbed a few hours later'.

Bertie died in Belgium on 3rd September 1915, aged 37. He is commemorated on on St. Peter's War Memorial, Loughborough, and on the Carillon.

On 7th September 1917 the Melton Mowbray Times & Vale of Belvoir Gazette published the following: 'IN MEMORIAM SMITH - In loving memory of Sergt. Bert Smith, of 1/5 Leicesters, the beloved husband of Kate Smith, killed in action September 3rd 1915. Too dearly loved to be forgotten. Ever in our thoughts. From Wife and Son Bertie'.

 Bertie and possibly 3 of his Brothers 1914.

 

Bertie back row far left 5th Leicesters 1915.

 

Corporal L/29119 Charles James Smith

 

160th Bde., Royal Field Artillery.

Died from gas poisoning 12th May 1918, Aged 24.

Buried Les Baraques Military Cemetery, III. B. 4A. 

 

Charles James Smith was born in Tugby, Leicestershire, on 10th December 1893 and baptised on 4th February 1894 at the Church of St. Thomas à Becket, Tugby, He was the son of John Smith and his wife Susannah (known as 'Annie', née Barfield) who were married at Tugby in 1891. Charles's father was a waggoner on a farm at Tugby and the Smith family lived in a cottage nearby. Charles had one brother Arthur and four sisters Mary, Gladys, Rose and Edith. Another sibling died young.

After Charles's father died in 1906 his mother moved with her three youngest children to Old Keythorpe, Tugby. Between 1911 and 1918 she moved to 57 Cumberland Road, Loughborough. When Charles left school he firstly became a farm servant for John Pick of Tugby but subsequently became a police constable.

Charles enlisted at Leicester on 11th June 1915 and joined the 160th (Wearside) Brigade of the Royal Field Artillery as Private L/29119. Public subscription had helped raise the Wearside Brigade in March 1915, with shipyard workers and miners providing the backbone of the new unit. When Charles joined them they were under canvas at Featherstone Park, Haltwhistle, Northumberland, training in artillery and horsemanship. In the early days of training the Brigade was called 'Idle and Dissolute' by their Commanding Officer who despaired of their inadequacies, but this tag was later worn as a badge of honour by the brigade as an affectionate tribute to their formidable fighting prowess.

From 28th July - 29th August 1915 the brigade continued training at Kirkby Malzeard, near Ripon, Yorkshire. The men then moved to Tidworth Park, Hampshire, where they remained until 4th January 1916. The next move was to No. 3 Camp, Corton, Wiltshire. On 9th January 1916 the brigade entrained at Cudford for Southampton and arrived at Le Havre the following day, concentrating at La Crosse, east of St. Omer.

On 11th January the brigade moved to Herbelle and on 23rd January to Blaringhem. On 29th February they left for the forward area. On 24th March the brigade was in action on the Armentières-Lille road and from 25th March -11th April in the line at Fleurbaix, successfully shelling enemy positions. Having returned to Blaringhem on 12th April the brigade marched to Lumbres where they remained until 4th May. Between 5th and 7th May the brigade entrained at Wizernes for Longeau, marched to Behencourt and went into the lines south of the Amiens-Albert railway. Here, during June, the brigade heavily bombarded the enemy.

In the opening days of the Somme Offensive the brigade was firing in the Tara Valley, Albert, and supported offensives to capture Contalmaison, Mametz and Ovillers. They then went into action between Longueval and Bazentin-le-Petit Wood, at Pozières and on the Bapaume road. For the first three weeks of August the brigade worked with the Australian divisions before moving by train from Longeau via Bailleul and Saleux for Armentières. From 30th August until the end of 1916 the brigade was in action at Chapelle d' Armentières, sometimes in cooperation with the Royal Flying Corps.

In January and early February 1917 the brigade was based at La Houssoye where three batteries were placed at the disposal of the 3rd Australian Division for action between Chapelle d' Armentières and Bois Grenier. On 17th and 18th February all batteries, now at the disposal of the Commander, Royal Artillery, supported an action from behind Ploegsteert Wood. Between 19th and 22nd February the brigade left Steenwerck and moved in stages via Lambres, Cauchy à la Tour, Floringhem and Antin to Valhuon.

In early March the brigade moved to the wagon lines at Villers-Brûlin before going into action until 8th April. In addition to regular bombardments, on 9th April, at the opening of the Arras Offensive, they supported an attack on the south end of Vimy Ridge. On 24th April they covered an attack on the Roeux-Gavrelle-Oppy-Arleux line.

In May the brigade was in action in the Arras area where on 5th May the wagon lines of B Battery were bombed by enemy aircraft, killing 75 horses. From 4th May the brigade had been defending the front line and until 26th May was firing by day and night as well as supporting attacks on the enemy. In June the brigade was occupied harassing the enemy, firing chemical shells and carrying out hurricane and slow bombardments as well as covering infantry operations.

At the beginning of July the brigade left Arras, marched via Monchiet, Courcelles and Péronne to the front at Hervilly. Here the brigade was firing until the end of September. In October, after a short break at the wagon lines in the area of Doingt-Péronne, the brigade entrained at Péronne-Ramicourt station for Hopoutre and proceeded to the wagon lines at St. Sixthe. From 14th October until 4th November the brigade took part in the Passchendaele Offensive. Positioned near the Broenbeck the brigade incurred substantial casualties.

Relieved on 3rd November the brigade marched via Eecke, St. Floris, Marles-les-Mines, and Villers-Châtel to the wagon lines at St. Martin aerodrome. On 10th and 11th November they moved into the line and took up positions at Héninel and Wancourt. The brigade remained here continuously in action until 7th February 1918. On 10th and 11th February the brigade marched to Rebreuviette and Rebreuve for training until the end of the month.

On 2nd March 1918 the brigade marched to St. Leger and was in action there up to and including 21st March, the opening day of the German Spring Offensive. Over the next few days, as the Germans advanced, the brigade was moved to Hamelincourt, Moyenville, Boyelle, Ayette, Adinfer and Ransart. One section of D Battery which was sent to Hendecourt became separated from the brigade. Casualties in the brigade were extremely high.

The brigade reassembled and on 2nd April supported a successful attack on Ayette, after which they were relieved and marched via Barly, Hernincourt and Bourecq to Haverskerque. Here they went into action until 15th April when they moved to the front at La Motte-au-Bois. At La Motte-au-Bois the brigade delivered harassing fire until mid-May. On 9th May fifteen Ordinary Ranks, including Charles, were gassed in action. Charles was taken to No. 35 General Hospital, Calais, but he died there from gas poisoning on 12th May 1918, aged 24. By the time he died he had been promoted to the rank of Corporal.

Charles was buried in Les Baraques Military Cemetery, Sangatte, Grave III. B. 4A. He is remembered on the memorial in the former St. Peter's Church building, Loughborough, and on the Carillon.
 

Private 5128 Frank Smith

 

4th Bn, Leicestershire Regiment.

Died of Wounds 22nd April 1916,  Aged 19.

Buried Aubigny Communal Cemetery I. A. 55.                      

 

Frank Smith was born in Loughborough in 1896. He was the son of William Smith, a brickyard manager, and his wife Emma (née Bexon) who were married in Chellaston, Derbyshire, on Christmas Day 1879. Frank had thirteen brothers and sisters, only eight of whom were still alive in 1911 (George, Sarah, Ellen, Jane, Hilda, Doris, Olive and Kate). From 1891 to at least 1916 the Smith family lived at Brickyard House, Park Lane, Loughborough.

Frank, who was employed at Cotton's Ltd., enlisted with the Leicestershire Regiment in August 1915 and joined the 1/4th Battalion as Private 5128. He was sent to France in the early spring of 1916. At this time the 1/4th Leicesters were in a support trench in the area of Talus de Zouaves, near Vimy Ridge. On 27th March the battalion relieved the 5th Lincolnshires in the front line trenches until 2nd April when the Lincolnshires relieved the Leicesters, a pattern which was repeated over the following weeks. The front line trenches were subject to heavy enemy bombardment.

On 21st April 1916 Frank was wounded in the legs by a shell, which fell in his dugout, and died the next day, aged 19, at 30 Casualty Clearing Station, Aubigny-sur-Artois. The officer commanding his company wrote to his parents: "The officers and the men of A Company were deeply grieved at his death. He was splendid fellow, and an excellent soldier. Always cheerful under the most trying circumstances, he kept up the spirits of his fellow-men wonderfully. He was wounded in both legs rather badly by a shell, but when he left the trenches he seemed so cheerful that we hoped he would survive his wound, but he succumbed the following day. Please accept from me on behalf of all his friends out here our deepest sympathy on the loss of so cheerful and popular a boy as your son proved to be. It is such men as he that make a name for the regiment."

The battalion captain also wrote: "Your son died at the post of duty, in a very dangerous line of trenches, and was and is an example to the young who shirk in England. You have every reason to be proud of him."

Frank is buried in Aubigny Communal Cemetery, Aubigny-sur-Artois, Grave I. A. 55.

Lance Sergeant 241119 Frederick Augustus Smith

 

2/5th Bn, Leicestershire Regiment.

Formerly 3349 Leicestershire Regiment.

Killed in Action 1st April 1917,  Aged 23.

Buried Roisel Communal Cemetery Extension II. G. 1.

 

Frederick Augustus Smith was born in Leyton, Essex, in 1894, the son of James and Emma Smith (née Thornley) who were married in Nottingham in 1881. Frederick's father, who was born in Loughborough, became a police constable in Essex, and in 1901 the Smith family lived at 13 Netley Terrace, Netley Road, Ilford. Frederick had five brothers Sidney, Reginald, William, Bertram and Frank and four sisters Ada, Kate, Gertrude and May. By 1911 James Smith had retired from the police force but the family was still living in Essex at 10 Perkins Road, Newbury Park, Ilford. It appears, however, that Frederick's parents subsequently moved to 4 Bampton Street, Loughborough.

Frederick enlisted at Loughborough and joined the 2/5th (Territorial) Battalion of the Leicestershire Regiment as Private 3349, later renumbered as Private 241119.

The 2/5th Battalion had its HQ in Loughborough as part of the Lincoln and Leicester Brigade, North Midland Division and was mobilised in September 1914. In January 1915 the battalion moved to Luton being billeted in private homes, in February and March they had a spell at Epping digging practice trenches. In July the battalion moved to the St Albans area, under canvas at Briton Camp for training and route marches. In August 1915, the Brigade was retitled 177th Brigade, 59th Division (2nd North Midland) and in October they were moved back to billets in Harpenden. Throughout 1915 some members of the 2/5th Leicesters also provided guards for the prisoner of war camp at Donington Hall.

In January 1916 parties of officers were sent to France on tours of instruction in the trenches and in March, the long awaited orders to proceed overseas were received. On Easter Monday, however, the rebellion in Ireland forced a rapid change of plans. The 177th Brigade was recalled from leave and ordered to move to Liverpool at midnight. The following day they sailed on the SS Ulster, a fast mailboat, escorted by a Royal Navy destroyer. Their first taste of action was not to be in the trenches of the Western Front, but in the streets of Dublin.

By the end of the month the main uprising was over and the 2/5th Battalion supplied search parties for Ballsbridge and guarded railways, bridges and other key infrastructure. On the 10th May they moved out of the city to tackle pockets of resistance in County Kerry, searching homes and making arrests. In June word was received that the Battalion would be moving to France and training resumed with long route marches through Ireland. In August they marched 80 miles from Tralee to Fermoy Barracks, where they would remain until January 1917, engaged in live fire training in trench warfare. The return trip from Ireland was made aboard the SS Ulster and the battalion arrived at Fovant Camp in Wiltshire by train at 7pm on 6th January 1917.

After embarkation leave they proceeded to France via Southampton, arriving at Le Havre on the 24th February 1917. They were sent to the Somme area where the enemy was retreating to the Hindenburg Line. They made their first attack on the villages of Hesbecourt and Hervilly on 31st of March 1917, capturing both villages and suffering a number of casualties. Frederick was killed in action on 1st April 1917, aged 23. He had been promoted to the rank of Lance Sergeant by the time he was killed.

Frederick was buried in Roisel Communal Cemetery, east of Peronne, Grave II. G.1.

Private 39238 Herbert Smith

 

2nd Bn, Leicestershire Regiment.

Died of Pneumonia 12th Nov. 1918,  Aged 20.

Buried Alexandria War Cemetery, Egypt. E. 167.

 

Herbert was the son of Ernest & Margaret Smith of 29 Hartington Street, Loughborough.

Private 44913 John Smith

 

28 Coy, Machine Gun Corps.

Formerly 4167 Leicestershire Regiment

Died of Wounds 13th May 1917,  Aged 20.

Buried Aubigny Communal Cemetery Extension, III. J. 16. 

 

John Smith was born in Quorn in 1897 and baptised on 16th March 1897 at St. Bartholomew's Church, Quorn. He was the eldest child of Albert and Hannah (or Anna) Smith who had been married on 3rd August 1896 at St. Bartholomew's. John's father was a quarryman in 1897 but by 1901 he had become a waggoner on a farm. John had two brothers Percy and Albert and a sister Charlotte. Another sibling had died young. In 1901 the Smith family lived at Quorn Fields Farm, Flesh Hovel Lane, Quorn, but by 1911 had moved to Ling's Farm in Loughborough. John, aged 14 in 1911, was an errand boy and over the next four years became a farm labourer.

On 30th April 1915, when he was just 18, John enlisted with the Leicestershire Regiment. He joined the 5th (Reserve) Battalion as Private 4167 and was sent firstly to Grantham, Lincolnshire, and then to Scotton Camp, Catterick, Yorkshire. On 26th July 1916 he was discharged from the Leicesters as he wished to join the Machine Gun Corps in Grantham. He now became Private 44914 and one month later, on 27th August 1916, he left Folkestone for Boulogne. On 8th September he was posted to 103 Coy in the field, but on 24th October he was transferred to 28 Coy which was working with the South African Brigade of the 9th (Scottish) Division of the Army.

The first serious actions John was likely to have been involved in were the 1st and 3nd Battles of the Scarpe, part of the Arras Offensive which ran from 9th April to 16th June 1917. John was gravely wounded in action on 12th May 1917 and was taken to No. 1 Canadian Casualty Clearing Station at Bailleul with a fractured right leg, shoulder and back. He died the following day, aged 20, and was buried in Aubigny Communal Cemetery Extension, Grave III. J. 16.

Driver 166514 J. W. Smith

 

9th Ammunition Col., Royal Field Artillery.

Died at Home 21st September 1919,  Aged 40.

Buried Loughborough Cemetery  7/257. 

 

Son of John & Harriet Smith; husband of Martha Smith of 31 Pinfold Gate, Loughborough.

Private 12881 Walter Albert Smith

 

8th Bn, Leicestershire Regiment.

Died of Wounds 13th July 1916,  Aged 23.

Buried Heilly Station Cemetery, II. B. 59.           

 

Walter Albert Smith was born in Market Bosworth, Leicestershire, in 1893, the son of William Smith a railway platelayer and his wife Bessie. Walter had two brothers William and Thomas and four sisters Margaret, Harriet, Ada, and Annie. In 1891 the family lived at Hinckley Road, Dadlington, Market Bosworth, but by 1901 had moved to 55 Station Street, Loughborough, and by 1911 had moved again to 77 Oxford Street, Loughborough. By 1919 most of Walter's family were living at 111 Derby Road.

Walter, a framework knitter, enlisted at Loughborough on 2nd September 1914 and joined the 8th (Service) Battalion of the Leicestershire Regiment as Private 12881. Two days later he was promoted to an unpaid Lance Corporal and sent firstly to Aldershot for training. He moved to Shorncliffe in Kent at the end of February 1915. In April 1915 Walter's battalion became part of the newly established 37th Division of Kitchener's 2nd New Army and the Division began to concentrate on Salisbury Plain. Walter, who had now been confirmed in the position of paid Lance Corporal, was billeted at Perham Down. On 25th June the units were inspected by King George V at Sidbury Hill. On 22nd July the Division began to cross the English Channel and Walter travelled to France on 29th July 1915. Initially the 37th Division concentrated near Tilques.

The 8th Battalion then moved via Watten, Houlie, St. Omer, Eecke and Dranoutre to Wulverghem and Berles-au-Bois, a short distance from the front line. In the months that followed the 8th Battalion did tours in the trenches, alternating with the 6th Leicesters who relieved them. They were Involved in operations in Bailleul, Le Bizet, Armentières, Mondicourt, Beauval and Berles-au-Bois. In April 1916 the 8th Leicesters moved to the Doullens area for six weeks for cleaning up, resting and training. In mid-May they returned once more to the trenches in the Bienvillers-Bailleulmont sector, but nearer Gommecourt. In June there was a series of nightly excursions into No-Man's Land with patrols attempting to gather information on the enemy's dispositions. On other occasions there were working parties out repairing the British barbed wire entanglements. The situation became increasingly hazardous as the month wore on when the Germans began to use a new and more accurate type of trench mortar.

The 8th Battalion did not participate in the first days of the Somme Offensive but was held in reserve. On 6th July they left billets at Humbercamps and marched to Talmas, continuing on the following day to billets in Soues. On 10th July the battalion marched to Ailly-sur-Somme, entrained for Méricourt and travelled from there by lorry to bivouacs in Méaulte. Between 10th and 13th July the battalion was in the trenches near Fricourt and subjected to fairly continuous enemy fire and at some point Walter was wounded. He died from his wounds on 13th July 1916, aged 23, and is buried in Heilly Station Cemetery, Grave II.B.59.

Walter is commemorated on the memorial at the former St. Peter's Church, Loughborough, and on the Carillon.

Private 15777 George Thomas Smythe

 

7th Bn, Leicestershire Regiment.

Killed in Action 22nd March 1918, Aged 32.

Commemorated Pozières Memorial panel 29 -30.                     

 

George Thomas Smythe's origins and early life are shrouded in mystery. Smythe (or Smith) may not have been his original surname and his forenames may also have been changed. He first appears on official records as 'George Thomas Smythe' when, aged 20, he married Dorothy Elsie Isabel Tansley on 2nd December 1905 at Emmanuel Church, Loughborough. At that time he gave his occupation as 'Clerk' and stated that his father, also supposedly called 'George Thomas Smythe' was deceased.

In the 1911 census George Thomas Smythe and his wife Dorothy were living at 15 Club Row, Coalville, Leicestershire, with their daughter Barbara Isabel. George was now employed as a coal miner (onsetter), working underground, and he gave his place of birth as Loughborough. By 1914 George and his wife had moved to 15 Coalville Place, Coalville. His wife moved to 10 Chapel Street, Shepshed.

George enlisted at Coalville on 28th October 1914, now giving his place of birth as 'near Coventry, Warwickshire'. He joined the 7th (Service) Battalion of the Leicestershire Regiment as Private 15777 and was sent to join the battalion at the Badajoz and Salamanca barracks in the Aldershot area where the emphasis was on individual training and squad and platoon drill. The early days of the battalion were rather disorganised and it was not until January 1915 that the battalion was in uniform and inspected by Kitchener. In March 1915 the battalion moved to the Andover area and at the end of April to Perham Down Camp on Salisbury Plain. On 25th June the battalion was inspected by King George V at Sidbury Hill and at the end of July entrained at Ludgershall Sidings near Tidworth. The battalion crossed the Channel from Folkestone on the SS Onward on 29th July.

On 30th July they entrained for Watten and, after a few days' rest, marched to St. Omer. By 9th August the battalion was bivouacked at Dranoutre in the Kemmel area of Belgium, a short distance from the front line. After a week in the front line the battalion entrained for Doullens and marched to Bienvillers-au-Bois. Here they began a pattern of one week in the trenches and one week in reserve and breaks in between and were involved in various trench warfare activities in the area of Arras for the rest of the year.

On 27th November 1915 George was admitted to No. 48 Field Ambulance with haemorrhoids. He was then moved to No. 29 Casualty Clearing Station at Gezaincourt and sent to No. 9 General Hospital at Rouen. Discharged on 20th January 1916 he was sent to the Infantry Base at Etaples and designated for an entrenching battalion. Entrenching battalions were temporary units formed in the British Army during the First World War. Allocated at Corps level, they were used as pools of men, from which drafts of replacements could be drawn by conventional infantry battalions.

In late February/early March 1916 George appears to have been granted leave to England as his second daughter Margery was born in December 1916. He rejoined his entrenching battalion on 18th March from No. 37 Infantry Base but only eight days later was admitted again to No. 48 Field Ambulance with bronchitis and transferred on 29th March to No. 10 General Hospital at Rouen. On 3rd April he was discharged to No. 37 Infantry Base Depot and on 7th April moved to the Corps Depot. On 8th April, however, he was readmitted to No. 10 General Hospital and on 14th April transferred to No. 6 British Red Cross Hospital at Etaples. On 21st May he returned to No. 37 Infantry Base Depot and proceeded to join the 5th Entrenching Battalion. One week later, on 27th May 1917 he was posted back to the 7th Battalion of the Leicestershire Regiment which was in training at Bienvillers.

Training at Bienvillers continued until the end of May and further training and trench tours followed in the Moyenville area in June, July and August, followed by a break in Hamelincourt. On 25th and 26th August the battalion marched to Gouy-en-Artois and then Beaufort for training. After a further move to Hauteville for more training and a football tournament and boxing competition, both of which the 7th Leicesters won, on 16th September the battalion entrained at Savy station for Caestre.

On 23rd September the battalion marched to Berthen. On 26th September they moved by bus to Scottish Wood and then to Bedford House as reserve in the forward area. After two days rest at Micmac Camp the battalion was back in the forward area on 29th. The 3rd Battle of Ypres had been raging for two months and the ground was full of water-logged shell holes, which had to be negotiated over duckboards. The 7th Leicesters joined the battle on the night of the 30th September, marching up to Polygon Wood, which had been captured by the Australians. The 9th Leicesters took over positions in the right half of the Polygon sector just outside the wood with the 7th Battalion behind them in support and the 6th Leicesters in reserve.

On 1st October the enemy began a heavy barrage. The Leicesters nevertheless pushed forward. An intense artillery duel followed on 2nd October before the battalion was relieved and marched south-east of Zillebeke Lake to Wiltshire Farm. On 4th October the battalion moved up again to south of Zillebeke Lake, bivouacking there. On the following day they were back in the support line west of Polygon Wood. On 6th October two companies moved up to the front line at Reutel, with the other two companies in support. On 10th October, amid a hostile barrage, the battalion was relieved and moved to Anzac Camp. On the 11th October they entrained at Ouderdom station for Ebblinghem and marched to billets and camp at La Carnois. After four days rest they marched to Les Ciseaux and were taken by bus to dugouts in the railway embankments at Shrapnel Corner. After remaining here until 24th October they moved to B Camp at Chateau Segard for reorganisation and training.

After three days cable laying at Clapham Junction at the beginning of November the battalion returned to B Camp before moving to dugouts on the Zillebeke Bund on 7th November and to the front line on the following day. After returning to A Camp at Chateau Segard on 13th November the battalion moved on to Devonshire Camp in the Reninghelst area and on 17th began a five day transfer by march to Coupigny. On 25th November they moved again to Frevillers for training. On 30th November the battalion received urgent orders to entrain at Savy for Tincourt.

On 1st December 1917 the battalion went into the front and support lines near Tincourt, moving into the support trenches at Epehy on 4th. Back in the front line from the 8th-11th December the battalion installed wiring, improved trenches and dug a new front line. After a break at Villers Faucon they returned to the front line from 16th-20th. On Christmas Eve the battalion returned to the trenches for four days, but were given their Christmas dinner at Saulcourt on 29th December.

The new year of 1918 began with a four day trench tour, followed by training at Lieramont and Haut Allaines until 19th January. On the 20th the battalion moved to Epehy by light railway and began another trench tour before moving into Brigade Reserve at Saulcourt on 28th. On 4th February the battalion moved into support at Epehy. Relieved on 7th February the battalion moved by light railway to Moislains, where training took place until 18th February. The battalion then moved to B Camp, Templeux la Fosse, and worked on the trenches and railway at Flamincourt. From 24th -28th February the battalion was based at Adrian Camp, Villers Faucon, for wiring work and trench digging.

In March it became clear that the Germans were planning a Spring Offensive. On the morning of the enemy assault, 21st March 1918, the 7th Battalion was holding the left hand portion of the front between Pezières and Epehy village when it was attacked by German storm troopers. The battle for Epehy raged all day. On 22nd March the battalion was ordered to retreat towards the old Somme battlefield of 1916, crossing the Péronne Canal to Aizecourt-le-Bas and Feuillaucourt and taking up position on a ridge to the north of Hem.
               



Clock Tower Memorial, Coalville

George was killed in action on 22nd March 1918, aged 32. He is commemorated on the Pozières Memorial, Somme, Panels 29 and 30, and is also remembered on the Clock Tower War Memorial in Coalville as well as on the Carillon, Loughborough.

In 1921 George's widow was remarried to John Manderfield at St. Botolph's Church, Shepshed, and the couple had two daughters Gwynda and Nora.

Private 40904 Frederick Snow

 

8th Bn, Leicestershire Regiment.

Killed in Action 11th April 1917,  Aged 24.

Buried St. Leger British Cemetery, C. 18.   

 

Frederick Snow, known as 'Fred' was born in 1892 in Quorn, the son of Albert Thomas and Eliza Jane Snow (née Stent) who were married in Alton, Hampshire, in 1872. Fred was the second youngest in a family of twelve children. His father was a blacksmith who later became a gamekeeper and finally a carpenter. In 1891 the Snow family lived at Brickyard Cottages, Normanton on Soar. By 1901 the family had moved to 5 Bath Lane, Loughborough, and in 1911 lived at Maplewell Road, Woodhouse Eaves.

In 1911 Fred was a fitter at the Leicester Water Works and in 1912 he married Jane Collier at Ashby. Fred and Jane settled at 4A Pleasant Place, Factory Street, Loughborough, and Fred took a position working on the Beaumanor Estates. By 1916 they had three children Frederick, Gladys and Ivy.

Fred enlisted at Coalville but the precise date of his enlistment is unknown as his service record has not survived. It is likely, however, that he enlisted sometime in 1916. He joined the 8th Battalion of the Leicestershire Regiment as Private 40904.

The 8th Battalion did not participate in the first days of the Somme Offensive but was held in reserve, but on 14th and 15th July the battalion was in action at the Battle of Bazentin Ridge. After the battle the battalion went into the trenches near Arras where they were on the receiving end of trench mortar bombs and heavy shells until 2nd September. They were relieved on 2nd September, marched to Duisans and on the following day proceeded to Lignereuil. On 13th September they marched to Frevent and entrained for Dernancourt. On 15th they reached a point between Fricourt and Méaulte before proceeding to Trônes Wood on 16th.

From 17th-23rd September 1916 the battalion was in reserve and supporting the troops in the front line by providing carrying parties. In the evening of 24th September the battalion marched up to take their position ready for an attack but before they reached this point the men were heavily shelled by the enemy. Just after midday on 25th September the 8th Leicesters launched a successful attack in waves on the right of Flers and then pressed on to Gueudecourt, Considerable losses, however, were suffered in this action.

In October 1916 the battalion moved to the Hohenzollern Sector where they were in the front line, reserve and support trenches until mid-December. From 20th December until 26th January 1917 the battalion was at Auchel on a training programme. In December and January two reinforcement drafts of ordinary rank soldiers joined their number and it is possible that Fred was in one of these groups if he was not already in France.

Further training followed in early February at Winnezeele before the battalion moved into the trenches near Sailly-Labourse. Here the battalion stayed throughout March, with breaks at Noyelles-sur-Mer and Mazingarbe. At the end of March the battalion moved to Hamelincourt where they went into the trenches on the Henin-Croisilles Road. On the night of 10th/11th April 1917 fifteen soldiers, including Fred, were killed by enemy shellfire here. Fred was 24 years old.

A returning comrade of Fred's informed his widow Jane that the shellfire explosion had snapped her husband's neck and that he had died instantly, near to the village of Croisilles during an action against the Hindenburg Line. Fred was buried at St. Leger British Cemetery, Grave C. 18.

Fred is remembered on Woodhouse Eaves War Memorial, on the St. Paul's Churchyard Memorial and on the Wesleyan Chapel Memorial (both in Woodhouse Eaves) and on the Loughborough Carillon.

Jane Snow had another daughter Winifred in 1918 and in 1919 married George Smith in Loughborough. Jane and George subsequently had twin daughters Edna and Phyllis and a son Malcolm.

Fred Snow's only son, Frederick Thomas Edwin Snow, served in the Regular Army with the Leicestershire Regiment, and in the Second World War with the Worcestershire Regiment.

Private 16175 Bramford Sparrow

 

2nd Bn, Grenadier Guards.

Died of Wounds 28th January 1917,  Aged 21.

Buried Grove Town Cemetery, Somme, II. M. 27.                 

 

Bramford Sparrow was born in 1895 in Fiskerton, Lincolnshire, the only son of William Henry Sparrow and his wife Harriett Ada (née Flintham) who were married in 1894 at St. Clement's Church, Fiskerton, Lincolnshire. Bramford's father worked as a wheelwright in his youth but by the time he was married he had become a joiner and later specialised in cabinet making. Bramford's mother was a dressmaker. Between 1895 and 1901 the Sparrow family moved from Lincolnshire to Brook Street, Wymeswold, and by 1911 to Far Street, Wymeswold. Bramford had two sisters: Beatrice (born in 1894 in Fiskerton) and Lenora (born in 1907 in Wymeswold). His mother later moved to High Street, Loughborough.

In 1911 Bramford was employed as a farm boy in Wymeswold but towards the end of 1912 he enlisted at Nottingham and joined the 2nd Battalion of the Grenadier Guards as Private 16175. It is known that Bramford was wounded at least twice between 1914 and 1917 but the details are not known as his service record has not survived.

In August 1914 when war broke out Bramford's battalion, part of the 4th (Guards) Brigade, 2nd Division, was at Wellington Barracks, London. The battalion was one of the first of the British Expeditionary Force to be sent to France, arriving at Le Havre from Southampton on the Cawdor Castle on 15th August 1914.

Shortly after arrival the battalion was engaged in the Battle of Mons on 23rd August, followed by the subsequent Retreat with fierce rearguard actions at Landrecies and Villers Cottérêts in the Forest of Retz. The battalion also took part in the Battle of the Marne, being heavily involved at Polygon Wood, and the 1st Battle of the Aisne. After being in action in the 1st Battle of Ypres (19th October-22nd November 1914) only 4 officers and 140 men remained of the Battalion.

In early 1915 the 2nd Grenadiers were in the trenches at Annequin, known as the 'Valley of Death'. In May the battalion took part in the second phase of the Battle of Festubert where it was subjected to considerable enemy shellfire for little gain. At the end of May the battalion was in billets at La Pugnoy and Vendin before moving to Noeux les Mines. In June they were alternately in billets at Sailly-la-Bourse and in the trenches at Auchy then Vermelles. In July they returned to the 'Valley of Death' with billets in Annequin before moving to the trenches at Guinchy with billets in Béthune. The first two weeks of August were spent at Givenchy where they took part in large scale mining operations in spite of being heavily bombed and shelled by the enemy.

In mid-August 1915 the battalion left the Army's 2nd Division and became part of the newly-formed Guards Division, marching to Campagne-les-Boulonnais to join the 1st Guards Brigade. The battalion was in action again at the Battle of Loos, attacking Hill 70 on 27th September and holding the left flank opposite Hulluch. On 3rd October the battalion returned to the trenches east of Vermelles and on 19th October moved to trenches near Sailly-la-Bourse, being heavily shelled in both places. On 22nd October they moved to billets in Lapugnoy until 10th November when they marched to La Gorgue and took over trenches opposite Pietre.

In January 1916 the battalion moved from the trenches near Riez Bailleul to the trenches at Arrewage. On February 7th the battalion was ordered to Poperinghe and then Cassel, entraining for Calais and Rest Station No. 6. Returning to Herzeele and Poperinghe by mid-March they took over the front line near Potidje village. On 24th March they moved to A Camp, Vlamertinghe. On April 10th, after ten days rest at Poperinghe, they moved to Ypres, taking over the front line between Railway Wood and the Menin Road. On 5th May they moved to trenches near Wieltje, with breaks in dug-outs at Ypres. On 19th May they entrained for St. Omer and marched to Tatinghem where they rested until 7th June. Ten days cable-laying near Poperinghe followed and then a move to the trenches at Elverdinghe. For much of July the battalion was in very dangerous trenches near Ypres before leaving the Ypres Salient on 27th and moving to Sarton, south-west of Arras.

On 10th August the battalion proceeded to Bertrancourt and marched to trenches in the Beaumont-Hamel line which were being heavily shelled. Five days later the battalion was in Courcelles for a week before marching to Méaulte where they remained until the end of August.

Between 12th and 15th September the 2nd Battalion successfully held part of the Ginchy Line and on 15th was in a planned advance despite heavy rifle fire from the enemy and a constant barrage of heavy shells. After a short respite the battalion was back in the line at Lesboeufs on 21st September and on 25th were once again sent into the attack in which they successfully captured Lesboeufs and took many prisoners. Casualties in both actions were, however, heavy. The end of September was spent at Morlancourt, followed by six weeks training at Aumont.

In November the battalion was only in the line for a few days, the rest of the month being spent at Citadel Camp, H.I Camp, Montauban, and Méaulte for training. December included trench tours at Sailly-Sallisel and Combles, with breaks at Maltz Horn Camp and Camp 15.

From 2nd-25th January 1917 the battalion was in Méaulte for training before moving to Priez Farm (between Combles and Rancourt). On 25th an enemy shell pitched among the cookers killing two men and wounding four; another shell fell in the water-cart, wounding two men. It seems that Bramford was one of those wounded. He died, aged 21, at Grovetown Casualty Clearing Station near Bray-sur-Somme the following day. He is buried at Grove Town Cemetery, Somme, Grave II. M. 27.

Bramford is remembered on the memorial in St. Mary's Church, Wymeswold and on the Roll of Honour in Wymeswold Memorial Hall.



Roll of Honour, Wymeswold Memorial Hall


Private 14961 Sidney Spencer

 

8th Bn, Leicestershire Regiment.

Death presumed on or after 21st March 1918, Aged 33.

Commemorated Pozières Memorial panel 29 -30.                     

 

Sidney Spencer was born in late 1884 in Loughborough and baptised on 6th December 1885 at Emmanuel Church, Loughborough, his forename being variously spelt as Sidney or Sydney on official documents. He was the son of Sidney Spencer, a bricklayer, and his wife Charlotte (née Lack) who were married in 1870 in the Ashby de la Zouch registration area. When Sidney was born the Spencer family was living in Robey Terrace, Loughborough, but by 1891 they had moved to 21 Park Lane, and by 1901 to 12 Rutland Street. In 1901 Sidney, aged 15, was employed as an electric winder of cotton and wire. Sidney had two brothers Alexander (known as 'Alec') and Albert and four sisters Emily, Clara, Beatrice and Frances. Five other siblings died young.

On 11th April 1903 Sidney married Sarah Ellen Selby at the Register Office, Loughborough, and their son Leonard was born shortly afterwards. A second son, Sidney, was born in 1908 but died in infancy. In 1911 Sidney and Sarah were living at 128 Ashby Road, Loughborough, and Sidney was now a traction motor fitter while Sarah was a hosiery winder. In 1914 they were living at 9 Southfield Road, but Sidney's wife later moved to Cobden Street.

Sidney enlisted at Loughborough on 3rd September 1914. He was sent to the Depot of the Leicestershire Regiment and on the 24th September posted to the 8th (Service) Battalion as Private 14961.

Sidney's battalion was part of Kitchener's New Army. It was attached to the 23rd Division of the Army and initially assembled in Bramley, Hampshire. The King, the Queen and Princess Mary visited the fledgling Division on 29 September. In early December, as the weather worsened, the Division moved into Aldershot. Another move was made to Shorncliffe, Kent at the end of February 1915. In April the battalion joined the 37th Division of the Army and moved to Cholderton on Salisbury Plain. All units were inspected by King George V at Sidbury Hill on 25th June.

On 29th July 1915 Sidney left Folkestone on the SS Golden Eagle for Boulogne. Initially his battalion concentrated near Tilques. On 5th September the battalion moved to the Merris Vieux-Berquin area, where trench familiarisation began under the tutelage of the 20th (Light) and 27th Divisions. Nine days later they moved to the front line sector at Bois Grenier, south of Armentières.

The 8th Battalion then moved via Watten, Houlie, St. Omer, Eecke and Dranoutre to Wulverghem and Berles-au-Bois, a short distance from the front line. In the months that followed the 8th Battalion did tours in the trenches, alternating with the 6th Leicesters who relieved them. They were involved in operations in Bailleul, Le Bizet, Armentières, Mondicourt, Beauval and Berles-au-Bois.

In April 1916 Sidney moved with the 8th Leicesters to the Doullens area for six weeks cleaning up, resting and training. In mid-May they returned once more to the trenches in the Bienvillers-Bailleulmont sector, but nearer Gommecourt. In June there was a series of nightly excursions into No-Man's Land with patrols attempting to gather information on the enemy's dispositions. On other occasions there were working parties out repairing the British barbed wire entanglements. The situation became increasingly hazardous as the month wore on when the Germans began to use a new and more accurate type of trench mortar.

The 8th Battalion did not participate in the first days of the Somme Offensive but was held in reserve. On 6th July Sidney's battalion left billets at Humbercamps and marched to Talmas, continuing on the following day to billets in Soues. On 10th July the battalion marched to Ailly-sur-Somme, entrained for Méricourt and travelled from there by lorry to bivouacs in Méaulte. Between 10th and 13th July the battalion was in the trenches near Fricourt and subjected to fairly continuous enemy fire.

On the 14th July the battalion was in action at the Battle of Bazentin Ridge. After the battle the battalion withdrew to Ribemont and then to Méricourt, and having entrained for Saleux, marched to Soues. From Soues the battalion moved to Longeau, Gouy-en-Ternois, Lattre St. Quentin and then to Arras where they went into the trenches on 29th July. Casualty figures for the battalion in July had been high: 17 officers and 415 other ranks had been killed, wounded or were missing.

The battalion went into Divisional Reserve at Agnez-les-Ouisans on 8th August but went back into the trenches at Arras on 18th August where they were on the receiving end of trench mortar bombs and heavy shells until 2nd September. On being relieved the battalion marched to rest billets at Lignereuil. On 13th September they marched to Frevent and entrained for Dernancourt. On 15th they reached a point between Fricourt and Méaulte before proceeding to Trônes Wood on 16th.

From 17th-23rd September the battalion was in reserve and supporting the troops in the front line by providing carrying parties. In the evening of 24th September the battalion marched up to take their position ready for an attack but before they reached this point the men were heavily shelled by the enemy. Just after midday on 25th September the 8th Leicesters launched a successful attack in waves on the right of Flers and then pressed on to Gueudecourt. Considerable losses, however, were suffered in this action.

On 26th September the 8th Battalion left the front line and withdrew to Dernancourt, entrained for Longpré and marched to Pont Remy before transferring to the Hohenzollern Reserve, support and frontline trenches. The battalion remained in the Hohenzollern sector, with breaks at Mazingarbe and Vermelles until 15th December when they marched to billets in the candle factory at Béthune.

From Béthune the battalion moved to Auchel where they remained until 26th January 1917 training. On 28th December the troops were entertained by a Lena Ashwell concert party. From Auchel the men moved to Winnezeele to continue training in tactical manoeuvres before returning to Béthune and the front line trenches at Sailly Labourse.

In April 1917 the battalion moved to Hamelincourt and occupied the Outpost Line on the Hénin-Croisilles road until 13th April, then transferred to Bailleulmont for training before going into support at St. Leger. On 3rd May the battalion took part in an attack on the village of Fontaine-lès-Croisilles where casualties were high. After the attack the battalion bivouacked at St. Leger before going back into the line on 9th May. On 11th May the battalion marched to Berles-au-Bois for musketry training and practice in tactical schemes, brigade sports and inspections which lasted until the end of May.

On 1st June the battalion marched to huts in Hamelincourt for additional training in bombing and rifle grenades and field exercises until 7th June. On the night of 7th/8th the battalion went into the trenches in the Hindenburg Line. From there they attacked the enemy on 15th June but were compelled to withdraw. They remained in the front line until 19th June when they returned to camp at Hamelincourt. A period of rest at Blairville then lasted until 1st July, after which the battalion returned to Hamelincourt. On 9th July 1917 the battalion was in the trenches near Croisilles before going into Brigade Reserve. After one more front line trench tour at Croisilles the battalion moved to Camp A at Moyenville for eight days training. Following this the battalion was in Brigade Support in the forward area until 17th August when it moved to a hutment camp in Ervillers for training. On 25th August the battalion moved by bus to Barly and from there, on the following day, marched to Ambrines. Two further periods of training followed, firstly at Ambrines and then at Avesnes-le-Comte.

On 16th September the battalion marched to Savy, entrained for Caestre and went into camp for more training. On 23rd September the battalion began a series of moves, firstly to Meteren, then by bus to Hallebast before marching to Sint Hubertushoek and from there to Ridge Wood south-west of Ypres. On 30th September they moved up to the front line at Polygon Wood.

On 1st October the enemy attacked the 9th Leicesters who were nearby and got possession of their front line. The 8th Leicesters went to assist but the enemy made repeated attacks. Counter-attacks were hit by a heavy enemy barrage in the neighbourhood of Joist Farm. On the night of the 2nd/3rd October the battalion was relieved and marched to Scottish Wood Camp. On 4th October the 8th and 9th Battalions of the Leicesters were amalgamated because of their high casualty rate. On 5th October the combined battalion moved to railway dugouts at Zillebeke and on 7th they went into the front line. The weather was very wet, the men suffered severely in the open trenches and shell holes and on 8th and 9th October 53 Ordinary Ranks were killed or wounded.

Relieved on 11th October the battalion moved to Anzac Camp where the combined battalion was restored to two units. On 12th October the 8th Battalion entrained at Ouderdom station for Ebblinghem and marched to Le Croquet. From here three days later the battalion moved by motor lorry to the Gheluvelt area on the Menin Road for six days of cable trench digging. The men worked under heavy hostile barrages, moving to and from the area under shellfire. Between 17th and 22nd October 86 Ordinary Ranks were killed, wounded or missing.

Five days at Camp A, Kruistraat crossroads, for reorganisation and training followed, after which the battalion went into Brigade Reserve in railway dugouts south-west of Zillebeke Lake to work on cable trenches. While moving into the front line on the night of 3rd/4th November the battalion suffered heavy casualties from a hostile gas shell bombardment and were withdrawn to Divisional Reserve at Camp A. Between 9th and 16th November the battalion completed another front line trench tour as well as four days in the support trenches at Zillebeke Bund. On 17th November they began a six-day march from Pioneer Camp near Scottish Wood to Coupigne for five days cleaning and reorganisation, and then marched to Monchy Breton.

On 30th November the battalion was suddenly ordered to entrain at Savy for Cambrai in order to reinforce the line there on account of a large scale German attack. From Courcelles on 1st December the battalion moved into the support line and into the front line on the following day. Four more trench tours took up most of December and in between tours the battalion concentrated on improving the village defences of Epehy with barbed wire entanglements.

From Epehy, on 4th January 1918, the battalion moved back to Middlesex Camp, Heudecourt, in Brigade Reserve. Between 11th and 20th January the battalion was in training at Haut Allaines and working on wiring and tunnelling at Saulcourt. Two more trench tours in bad weather when the sides of the trenches kept falling in completed the month.

February 1918 included trench tours at Epehy, ten days at Moislains for training, digging a fire trench near Gurlu Wood, work on new aerodromes at Cartigny and near Nurlu and digging the main line of defence near Pezière. In early March it became clear that the enemy was preparing for a large-scale attack. On 21st March the Germans opened their Spring Offensive, advancing in formation and accompanied by a bombardment of every description. The battalion, still in the neighbourhood of Epehy, suffered heavy casualties on the front line between 21st and 23rd March. Sidney, aged 33, went missing and was presumed to have been killed in action on or after 21st March 1918.

Sidney is commemorated on the Pozières Memorial Panels 29-30. He is also remembered on a memorial in All Saints with Holy Trinity Church, Loughborough, and on the Carillon.

Sidney's widow married Walter Quemby in Loughborough in 1920.

Private 38259 Timothy Spencer

2/6th Bn, Gloucestershire Regiment.

Previously 38259 7th Bn, Leicestershire Regiment.

Missing, presumed dead 2nd December 1917, Aged 31.

Commemorated Cambrai Memorial, Louverval Military Cemetery, Panel 6. 

Timothy Spencer was born in Thorpe Acre in 1886 and grew up there. He was the son of William Spencer and his wife Mary (née Rains) who were married at Holy Trinity Church, Kirk Ireton, Derbyshire on 7th December 1874. His father was initially a farm labourer and progressed to being a farmer and grazier. Timothy had one brother George and four sisters Hannah, Florence, Ann and Lily. Two years after Timothy's mother died in 1904 his father was married again to Dorcas Rose Dawkins on 12th December 1906 at All Saints Church, Thorpe Acre, and Timothy acquired a step-brother Harold and a step-sister Winnie.

In 1901 Timothy, aged 14, was a solicitor's office boy but by 1911 he had become a carpenter and was living away from home boarding with John and Hannah Edge at Anstey. He married Annie Moore on 8th August 1911 at All Saints Church, Thurcaston. At the time both he and Annie were living at Cropstone. Between 1913 and 1916 the couple had two sons Leslie and Eric.

Timothy enlisted at Leicester probably in the late summer of 1916. He was firstly with the 7th Battalion of the Leicestershire Regiment as Private 38828. He was later transferred to the 2/6th Battalion of the Gloucestershire Regiment as Private 38259. The precise dates of his enlistment and transfer to the Gloucestershire Regiment are unknown as his service record has not survived. The date on which he was sent to France is also unknown. According to the war diary of the 2/6th Battalion of the Gloucestershire Regiment, however, the battalion received batches of reinforcements on 24th October 1916 and on 11th November 1917. Timothy could have been in either of these batches.

In late October 1916 the 2/6th Battalion of the Gloucestershire Regiment was in the Neuve Chapelle sector before going to Busnes for training. In early November the battalion moved via Auchel, Monchy Breton, Freville and Ternas to Fortel for training until 14th November. On 15th November they began a three-day move to Aveluy to work on the roads and provide other working parties December included trench tours at Aveluy and Grandcourt with breaks at Martinsart Wood and Varennes.

On 8th January 1917 the battalion marched to Hedaville for a week's training before moving over four days to Argenvillers. Training continued here and at Ailly-le-Haut-Clocher until 13th February. On 14th February the battalion marched to Pont Remy, entrained for Wiencourt and marched to billets in Demuin. Further training ensued at Wiencourt and Framerville, with one trench tour, until 7th March. From 8th-13th March the battalion was in Brigade Support at Vermandovillers and Parison gravel pits, providing working and carrying parties.

When the battalion returned to the trenches on 14th March the enemy appeared to be evacuating their front line. After moving on to Mill de Morchain and Bethancourt the battalion found that bridges over the River Somme had been blown up and craters blown at crossroads. For the rest of March from Brigade Reserve the battalion repaired roads and filled craters.

Having moved to Atilly on 1st April part of the battalion occupied Holnon and St. Quentin while part went into support as the front line was pushed forward. On 5th April the battalion attacked Fresnoy-le-Petit but the attack failed. After going into Divisional Reserve on 6th April the battalion repaired roads at Ennemain, Tertry, Ettrelliers and Vaux for the rest of April.

May began with a trench tour at Holnon Wood followed by working parties on wiring and carrying until 14th May. On 15th May the battalion began moving via Beauvois and Nesle to Coisy for three days training before transferring to Arras where training continued. In June training in attack tactics took place at Tilloy, Simencourt, and, after a train journey from Gouy-en-Artois to Hesdin, at Oeuf.

On 25th July the battalion marched to Petit Houvain, entrained for Esquelbecq and marched to Peenhoff. After training there until 14th August the battalion entrained at Esquelbecq for Hopoutre, near Poperinghe, and proceeded to camp at Goldfish Chateau, Ypres. The remainder of August was spent in the front line or in reserve at Wieltje and on 23rd August A Company captured Pond Farm. After being bombarded by the enemy on 29th August the battalion moved back to camp at Vlamertinghe for a week's training.

On 8th September the battalion returned to Ypres North and went into the line east of Wieltje four days later. Here they experienced heavy enemy shelling before returning to camp at Vlamertinghe and then Watou. On 17th and 18th September the battalion marched via Wormhoudt to Cassel, entrained for Arras and marched to Simencourt. From here on 23rd they marched to Hull Camp at St. Nicholas, near Arras, and went into the support trenches at Greenland Hill, working with the Royal Engineers until the end of the month. October was spent in the front line and support trenches at Greenland Hill with a training break at Hull Camp.

After returning to the front line at the beginning of November the battalion moved to billets in Arras prison, from where the men underwent training and took part in a musketry completion and football matches. On 30th November the battalion entrained for Bapaume and marched to Barastre. They bivouacked in Havrincourt Wood, near Metz-en-Couture, before moving up to the line on 2nd December. Here the enemy launched several attacks which were repulsed at considerable cost. Between 2nd and 5th December the battalion suffered 325 casualties.

Timothy, aged 31, was found to be missing on 2nd December 1917 and his death was later presumed. He is remembered on the Cambrai Memorial, Louverval, Panel 6. He is also commemorated on the memorial in All Saints Church, Thorpe Acre.

His widow Annie was married again in 1920 to George H. Johnson.

 

Private 24369 David Spicer

 

15th Bn. Sherwood Foresters (Notts & Derby).

Killed in Action 2nd November 1916, Aged 34.

Buried Faubourg d' Amiens Cemetery, Arras I. H. 47. 

 

David Dexter, afterwards Spicer, was born in Wymeswold in 1882, the son of Elizabeth Dexter. In 1883 Elizabeth Dexter married Thomas Spicer, a farm labourer, and David thereafter took the Spicer surname. Whether Thomas Spicer was David's father is unknown. By 1891 David had two sisters (or half-sisters) Harriett and Annie, and the Spicer family lived in accommodation at Brook Hall, Wymeswold. By 1901 the family had moved into Loughborough, to 19 Salmon Street and Thomas Spicer and David, now 18, were both employed as a bricklayer's labourers. There were now four more children in the family: Thomas, Frederick, Percy and Ernest. By 1911 the Spicers had moved to 22 Salmon Street and David was now employed as a chauffeur. David's family later moved to 4 Court, Pinfold Gate.

David's service record has not survived but it is recorded that he enlisted at Loughborough and joined the 15th (Service) Battalion of the Sherwood Foresters (Notts and Derby Regiment) as Private 24369. The 15th Battalion was formed in Nottingham in February 1915 by the Mayor and a committee and it was a 'Bantam' battalion formed of troops who were under the normal regulation minimum height of 5 feet 3 inches.

After early training near home the battalion moved to the Masham area of North Yorkshire in June 1915, coming under the orders of the Army's 35th Division. In August 1915 the battalion transferred to Salisbury Plain.

The battalion was sent to France on 1st February 1916, travelling via Folkestone to Boulogne, and onwards by train to St. Omer. Throughout February 1916 they were in billets at La Rougie, La Lacque, Robecq and Paradis. During March the battalion did trench tours at Laventie and in mid-April moved to trenches at Ferme du Bois with breaks at Le Touret, La Couture and Croix Barbée. From mid-May to mid-June 1916 they were in trenches in the Neuve Chapelle sector after which they moved to billets in Mont-Bernanchon. For the first two weeks of July the battalion was on the march through Sus-St-Léger, Beauval, Bus-les-Artois, Warloy-Baillon, Heilly and Bray to bivouacs at Bois de Billon which they reached on 15th July.

From 16th to 20th July the battalion was in the trenches south-east of Trônes Wood, being very heavily bombarded and subjected to gas and tear shells. For the rest of July the men mainly rested in bivouac at Talus Boise whilst helping with trench improvement work and supplying the occasional trench relief. On 5th August they entrained at Méricourt for Saleux and went into billets at Molliens-Vidame. Returning to Méricourt on 10th August they marched to bivouac at The Citadel, Méricourt and supplied working parties for the Royal Engineers until 19th August. On 23rd August, while in the Maltz Horn trenches they were again heavily shelled. On 30th August they entrained at Heilly for Candas, marched to Lucheux on 1st September and from 3rd to 27th September were in the front line trenches near Arras. Most of October and early November was spent in the Arras trenches where on 2nd November they were heavily bombarded by the enemy.

David Spicer was killed in action, aged on 2nd November and buried in Faubourg d'Amiens Cemetery, Arras, Pas de Calais, Grave I. H.47.

David is remembered on the memorial at St. Mary's Church, Wymeswold, on the Roll of Honour in Wymeswold Memorial Hall, on the memorial at All Saints' Church, Loughborough, and on the Carillon.

David's brother Percy who served with the 6th Leicestershire Regiment was wounded on 18th October 1918 but survived the war. His brother Thomas had attested for the 3rd Leicestershire Regiment in 1907 but was turned down as being 'medically unfit for service'.

The Reverend William Henry Spinks

 

Chaplain, YMCA

Died of Wounds 29th May 1918,  Aged 45.                

Buried Etaples Military Cemetery XXVIII. M. 7.  

                                

William Henry Spinks was born in Worthing, Sussex, in 1873. He was the son of George Henry Spinks and his wife Elizabeth (née Hammond) who were married in Depwade, Norfolk, in 1867. William had two brothers Ernest and Albert and two sisters Florence and Bessie. Three other siblings had died young.

When William was born his parents had just moved from Finsbury, Middlesex, to Worthing, not far from his mother's home town of Bognor Regis. By 1881 William's father was established as a draper employing six people in Worthing and the Spinks family was living at 21 Warwick Street. Not long after this, however, William's father became a commercial traveller and moved his family to Hawthorn Cottage, 1 Alma Villas, Ipswich. In later years William's parents lived at 49 Leys Avenue, Letchworth, Hertfordshire and William's father, until his death in 1912, was a gentleman's outfitter.

William Spinks was an assistant pastor with the Rev. W. E. Bloomfield at Coventry at the beginning of his ministerial career. After a period in Bristol he was then appointed to the pastorate of Whyte's Causeway Baptist Church, Kirkaldy, Fife, in March 1900. On 18th September 1900 he was married at Queen's Road Baptist Church, Coventry, to Ada Salmon, the daughter of an Inspector of Weights and Measures, of Warwick House, Earlsdon, near Coventry. The Rev. W. E. Bloomfield officiated at the service. After a honeymoon at Braemar the couple returned to 4 Victoria Gardens, Kirkaldy.

After five and a half years in Kirkaldy William received a call from the Wood Gate Baptist Church in Loughborough and tendered his resignation at Kirkaldy. In October 1905 he and his wife moved south to 3 Park Street, Loughborough. He held the pastorate at Wood Gate for eleven years until July 1916 when he obtained three months leave of absence from the church in order to work for the Young Men's Christian Association (YMCA) in France.

In November 1914 the YMCA had gone to France and set up a recreation centre in Le Havre. Later they set up in Rouen, Boulogne, Dieppe, Etaples and Calais, which were the main Army Bases. They also set up in the railway junctions at Abbeville, Dunkirk, Abancourt, Paris and Marseilles. They served up refreshments for the troops and provided writing and reading material which was of enormous value to the soldiers. Some of the staff of the YMCA, totalling over 1,500 in France and Flanders alone, worked in hospitals giving pastoral care and nursing support. A number of these were religious men too old or unfit to fight, but significantly some were also clergymen, like Rev. Spinks, who had opted against taking a chaplains' commission, and 40% were also women, often from the middle classes.

William went to Etaples where there were at least two large hospitals in marquees adjacent to the base camp. The YMCA was accommodated in huts and in 1916 to keep up with demand had more than 33 huts stationed around the various training camps which together constituted the Etaples base. At Etaples the huts not only provided refreshments but also concerts, lectures, weekly Bible study and free French lessons; making the most of the men's leisure time in camp. The YMCA prohibited the sale of alcohol in their huts and the hut environment was promoted as a wholesome alternative to the estaminets and bars outside of the camp. While the YMCA operated from a spiritual basis in which faith was related to real life, the priority of most of the YMCA's activities in base camps such as Etaples was to boost the morale of the soldiers.

Before William's three months leave of absence from Loughborough expired he sent in his resignation of the Wood Gate pastorate in order that he might devote himself entirely to YMCA work. William continued working for the YMCA until his health broke down. He returned to England to recover and for a time went into a business occupation in Leicester until he was again accepted for YMCA work.

William went back to Etaples in mid-May 1918 but had only been there a few days when, on Sunday 19th May, a hospital at Etaples in which he was engaged in ministerial duties was bombed by the Germans. While sheltering a young Chinese man with his own body William was severely wounded by shrapnel, with one serious wound at the base of his spine. William's wife, who was living in Letchworth with William's widowed mother, left for France to visit her husband but when she reached Folkestone she learnt that he had died from his injuries on 29th May. He was aged 45.

William was buried in Etaples Military Cemetery, Grave XXVIII. M. 7. He was posthumously awarded the British War Medal. On 24th September 1919 a memorial tablet for William was unveiled at Wood Gate Baptist Church. William is also remembered on the Carillon.

Private 26610 Charles Edward Squires

 

16th Bn. Sherwood Foresters (Notts & Derby).

Killed in Action 8th October 1916, Aged 38.

Buried Connaught Cemetery Thiepval, Somme  X. F. 7. 

 

Charles Edward Squires was born in Loughborough in 1878, the son of Edward Squires and his wife Ellen (née Harrison) who were married in Loughborough in 1876. When Charles was born his father was an ostler and waiter and the Squires family lived at 55 Russell Street, Loughborough. By 1891 Charles's father had become a house painter and the growing family had moved to 7 Rutland Street. Charles had four brothers Alfred, Daniel, Herbert and Wilfred and four sisters Florence, Ellen, Elizabeth and Isabella.

Charles married Emily Bastock in Warwickshire in 1898 and the couple set up home at Far Bridge, Shardlow, Derbyshire. Charles was employed as a waggoner at a brewery. In 1901 Charles's brother Daniel, who was a stableman at the brewery, was also living with them. Charles's wife unfortunately died in 1906 and Charles's whereabouts until he enlisted are unknown. His parents, meanwhile, moved firstly to 123 Ratcliffe Road, Loughborough, and then to 65 Clarence Street.

Charles enlisted on 27th May 1915 at Staveley, near Chesterfield, Derbyshire, giving his address as the Midland Café, Loughborough. He joined the 16th (Service) Battalion of the Sherwood Foresters (Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire Regiment) as Private 26610. The 16th Battalion was known as the Chatsworth Rifles as it was formed at Derby on 16th April 1915 by the Duke of Devonshire and the Derbyshire Territorial Force Association. When Charles joined the battalion it was at Buxton, but it moved to Redmires near Sheffield on 8th June 1915 for training in trench warfare. On 2nd September 1915 there was another move to Hursley near Winchester where the battalion came under the orders of the 39th Division of the Army. On 30th September the battalion moved to Aldershot but under two months later moved to Witley Camp on Witley Common, Surrey, for final training.

The battalion embarked at Southampton for Le Havre on 6th March 1916 and on arrival concentrated near Blaringhem, not far from Dunkerque. On 13th March the battalion marched to Estaires and on 19th March front line instruction began at Laventie. This was followed by training in the trenches at Auchy, where the enemy was quite active.

On April 15th the battalion marched to Riez du Vinage and on 23rd took over a section of the trenches near Festubert. In early May, after a short time in Le Touret the battalion returned to Riez du Vinage. On 17th May they went into the trenches at Givenchy where the front was full of craters, and they were attacked by enemy rifle grenades. After a break in Gorre they returned to the Givenchy front line on June 3rd where they carried out a successful raid on the enemy. On 6th June the battalion went into reserve at Essacs before taking over the front line at Richebourg l'Avoué, where on 30th June they supported an attack. From 1st to 11th July the battalion pushed forward and made some progress, afterwards remaining at Richebourg l'Avoué trenches until 20th July. On 10th August they began moving towards the Somme via Auchel to La Thieuloye where two days training took place. On 28th August they reached Beaussart.

On 2nd September 1916 the battalion took up a position in the line at Beaumont Hamel. An attack was about to take place on the German front just north of the River Ancre and the Chatsworth Rifles were to be in reserve, conveying items for the attacking troops and providing trench control posts. This operation continued until 19th September when the battalion marched to Bertrancourt and took over the trenches at Hébuterne on the following day.

The battalion was relieved on 1st October and on 5th October took over a centre section of the trenches at Thiepval including the Schwaben Redoubt. It was very muddy and the enemy put up a vigorous defence particularly on 7th and 8th October. Charles was killed in action on 8th October 1916, aged 38. He was buried in Connaught Cemetery, Thiepval, Somme, Grave X. F. 7.

Private 202929 James Henry Squires

 

2/4th Bn, Leicestershire Regiment.

Killed in Action 27th September 1917,  Aged 19.

Buried Tyne Cot Cemetery, Zonnebeke, XXXVI F. 2.                    

James Henry Squires was born in Loughborough in 1898, the son of Henry Squires and his wife Harriett (née Higgs) who were married at St. Leonard's Church, Swithland, on 3rd November 1879. James' parents, who both came from Yorkshire, had nine children but by 1911 only two of them were still alive - most had died at a very young age but one, their daughter Julia, had died aged 18 in 1900. In 1911 James had just one surviving brother Joseph who suffered from epilepsy.

James' father was a tailor and between 1891 and 1911 the Squires family lived at 82 Cobden Street, Loughborough. Towards the end of his life James' father had very limited mobility and he died, aged 58, in 1911. James' mother then moved to 38 Regent Street and later to 40 Pinfold Street. James was educated at Church Gate School and afterwards employed as a telegraph messenger at the Post Office.

James appears to have enlisted at Loughborough in late 1916. He joined the 2/4th Battalion of the Leicestershire Regiment as Private 202929, his surname being incorrectly recorded on all army documentation as 'Squire'. It is not known where James received his initial army training before being sent to France in August 1917 as his service record has not survived. What is known is that he had only been in France and Flanders for six weeks when he was killed in action.

The 2/4th Battalion was training in Barastre, south-east of Arras, when James joined them. The battalion's war diary records that a batch of ordinary rank reinforcements joined them on 20th August and James is likely to have been in this batch. On 22nd August the battalion moved by route march and bus to Senlis where training continued until 31st August. After Senlis there were three more weeks training at Winnezeele before the battalion moved to the Poperinghe area on 20th September. On 24th September the battalion moved into the Ypres North sector of the front to support the Staffordshire Regiment. On 25th September two companies of the 2/4th Battalion were in the front line, one company was in support and one was providing carrying parties.

On 26th September an attack was launched on the enemy in the Battle of Polygon Wood (a phase of the 3rd Battle of Ypres, or Passchendaele). The enemy responded with a barrage of fire and all-day shelling. On the 27th September the battalion relieved the 4th and 5th Lincolns in the front line and extended the frontage by 300 yards. On this day James was killed in action, aged 19. In a letter to James' mother, his captain wrote: 'He has left behind the memory of a brave lad, liked by everyone and quite prepared to do his bit at all costs, for his king and country'.

James is buried in Tyne Cot Cemetery, Zonnebeke, Grave XXXVI. F. 2 with his surname being incorrectly engraved on his gravestone as 'Squire'. He is also remembered on the Carillon War Memorial in Loughborough.

James' brother Joseph enlisted in London with the London Brigade of the Royal Garrison Artillery on 6th August 1914 but was discharged almost immediately as being unfit to serve because of his epilepsy.

James' mother, who now had only one of her nine children left alive, was taken to court in March 1923 by the owner of 40 Pinfold Street for non-payment of rent. She was apparently living in considerable squalor there with a number of cats. She died, aged 69, about six months later.

Corporal 2192 Thomas William Squires

 

1/5th Bn, Leicestershire Regiment.

Killed in Action 13th October 1915, Aged 22.

Commemorated Loos Memorial, panel 42 - 44. 

Thomas William Squires was born in Loughborough in 1893, the son of Herbert Squires and Martha Squires (née Woolley) who were married in Loughborough in 1877. Thomas had a twin sister Hilda and three other sisters Florence, Mary and Alice and three brothers Herbert, Charles and George. Their father Herbert was a coachman who became a horseman for the Borough Council. The family started off living at 43 Pinfold Gate, Loughborough, but later moved to 27 School Street and then 2 Moor Lane. The parents finally went to live at 22 York Road.

When he left school Thomas became a butcher's apprentice and by the time he enlisted, on 31st August 1914 at Market Harborough, he was a fully-fledged butcher. He joined the 1/5th battalion of the Leicestershire Regiment as Private 2192.

Thomas's battalion was based at Bishops Stortford in November 1914 but were soon moved to Luton to practise marching and night work. On 25th February 1915 they were ordered to entrain at Harlow for Southampton. They landed at Le Havre three days later. They went by train to St. Omer, and then marched to Hardifort. The battalion spent the first few months in France in the Armentières sector, training and doing tours in the trenches. In June they moved to the Salient, near Zillebeke, where they remained until the beginning of October when they were ordered to move towards Loos. Thomas had been promoted to Lance Corporal (unpaid) on 1st June 1915 and to Corporal on 10th August 1915.

On 12th October 1915 the battalion travelled to the Hohenzollern Redoubt, arriving in Vermelles at 10.00pm. They spent the next eight hours in communication trenches. On 13th October 1915 during the attack on the Redoubt, part of the final stages of the Battle of Loos, the 1/5th Battalion was in reserve until just after midday, when they 'went over the top' and came under intense machine gun fire. After the attack on the Redoubt Thomas was reported missing and on 29th November 1915 was recorded as killed in action, aged 22.

Private 17106 Albert Stanford

 

2nd Bn, Leicestershire Regiment.

Killed in Action 25th September 1915,  Aged 16.

Commemorated Loos Memorial, panel 42 - 44.                     

Albert was born in late 1898 or early 1899 in Loughborough, the only son of Samuel and Jane Ann Stanford (née James) who were married in Loughborough in 1896. In 1901 the family lived at 31 Paget Street, and Albert's father was an agricultural implement fitter. Albert had one younger sister Alice; another sister Ellen had died aged 1. By 1911 the family had moved to 40 Rotten Row, Lichfield, and Albert's father was employed as an ironmonger's fitter but by 1915 they had returned to Loughborough and were living at 11 Grange Street.

Albert was only fifteen or just sixteen when he enlisted and cannot have stated his true age at the time. He joined the Leicestershire Regiment and, after a period of training joined the 2nd Battalion of the Leicesters in France on 27th May 1915.

The 2nd Leicesters spent the next couple of months alternately in the trenches or in billets while war training, in the area of Calonne and Vieille Chapelle north-east of Bethune. The corps was then rested in a quiet sector until it was deployed for the Battle of Loos. Young Albert was deprived of two days pay for misconduct on 2nd September 1915 and was killed, aged only 16, at the Battle of Loos not long afterwards.

A local newspaper recorded the following:

'Youthful Loughborough Hero

'Mr and Mrs S Stanford of 11 Grange Street, Loughborough, received on Sunday the news that their only son, Private Albert Stanford, of the second battalion Leicestershire Regiment, had been killed in action on September 25th. He had been previously posted as missing, and enquiries at Lichfield failed to elicit any further news, although unofficially they have since heard, that after the fighting was over a dug out, in which some of the 2nd Leicesters were, had been blown up by a high explosive shell, young Stanford being among those who were buried amidst the debris. Private Stanford had been in France about three months before meeting his death. He was educated at the Higher Elementary School under Mr. J. Upton, B. A. and had begun work with Messrs William Moss and Sons, Ltd. A bright lad, he had written home from the trenches that he was only doing his duty in playing his part in keeping his own country from the possibility of such scenes as he seen in the rear of the firing line - a reference to the devastated villages in France.' 

Private 53721 George Staniland

 

12th Bn. Sherwood Foresters (Notts & Derby).

Killed in Action 4th April 1917, Aged 23.

Commemorated Arras Memorial, bay 7. 

 

George Staniland was born in 1893 in Loughborough, the son of George Augustus Staniland and Mary Staniland (née Osgodby) who were married in Nottingham in 1882. George was baptised at All Saints Parish Church in Loughborough on 10th May 1893. At that time his parents lived at 67 Gladstone Street and his father was a milkman. By 1901 the family had moved to The Cedars, Swing Bridge Lane, Knightthorpe. George's father was now a farmer and dairyman and ran Piper Farm, Long Whatton. George had four brothers Frederick, Leonard, Richard and Jonathan and two sisters Dora and Sarah. After George's father died in 1909 George's older brother Frederick took over the running of the farm and George and Jonathan assisted him.

George enlisted at Loughborough in the early summer of 1916 and joined the 12th (Service) Battalion (Pioneers) of the Sherwood Foresters (Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire Regiment) as Private 53721. Pioneer battalions were used for various types of labouring work including deepening trenches, clearing out drains, digging tunnels and cable-laying. They underwent basic military training including firearms, but were also supplied with the necessary additional tools required for the work they were assigned to do in the field as Pioneers.

The 12th Sherwood Foresters received a draft of men on 29th September 1916 and it is likely that George was in this draft. At the time the battalion was based at Villers-au- Bois eight miles north-west of Arras and working on the railway in the Zouave valley. On 28th October the battalion moved to Loos to work on the defences there, amid shelling, gas alerts and some bombardment. They remained at Loos until 14th February 1917 when they moved to Allouagne (west of Béthune) for a period of training in trench digging, bombing, musketry and bayonet fighting. On March 10th the battalion marched via Sains-en-Gohelle to Fosse 10 to clean and deepen trenches. Nearly every day there were casualties from enemy action and on 4th April 1917 George was killed in action by shellfire, aged 23.

George is commemorated on the Arras Memorial bay 7 and on the memorial in the former St. Peter's Church building, Loughborough, as well as on the Carillon.

Corporal 32922 Joseph Francis Starbuck

 

10th Bn. Lincolnshire Regiment.

Died of Wounds 14th April 1917, Aged 37.

Buried Mont Huon Military Cemetery, Le Treport, IV. F. 9A. 

 

Joseph Francis Starbuck was born on 12th August 1879 in Liverpool and baptised on 26th October 1879 at St. Paul's Church, Princes Park, Toxteth, Liverpool. He was the son of Joseph Francis Starbuck, a provision merchant, and his wife Emma (née Goodwin) who were married at All Saints' Church, Loughborough, on 29th October 1878. His father came from Skegby, Nottinghamshire, and his mother came from Loughborough. Joseph Junior had one younger brother Thomas but both boys would hardly know their father who died in 1883 in Derby. After her husband died Joseph's mother moved to Aigburth, Garston, Liverpool, and made a small living as a dressmaker.

On 11th April 1889 young Joseph was admitted to Ripley Hospital School in Lancaster as his mother was poor. He did well there, his character and attainment being good, and when he left in June 1894 he was employed as a page-boy at Abbotts Wood, Barrow-in-Furness, the home of Sir John Ramsden, engineer, industrialist and civic leader. Later that same year Joseph was apprenticed to be a joiner with Watson and Lovatt in Loughborough. After his 5 year apprenticeship was completed he enlisted on 24th October 1898 at Derby to join the Derbyshire Regiment.

Joseph joined the 1st Battalion as Private 6050 'Francis Starbuck' and on 10th February 1899 was posted to Mtarfa Barracks, Malta. On 21st November 1899 he was sent to South Africa where he remained until 7th September 1902. He was awarded the Queen's South African Medal with clasps for Cape Colony, Orange Free State, Johannesburg and Diamond Hill and the King's South African medal with two clasps.

A two-year posting to China in the aftermath of the Boxer Rebellion ensued, followed by a two-year posting to the Straits Settlements. In 1905 Joseph had been promoted to Lance Corporal. He returned to England on 30th January 1906 and was posted to the 2nd Battalion, reverting to Private at his own request. In October 1906 Joseph was transferred to Army Reserve and in November 1906 he obtained employment as a tram conductor in Liverpool.

On 27th January 1907 Joseph married Mary Ann Whiteley-King at St. Bride's Church, Liverpool. He was finally discharged from the Army on 23rd October 1910 and in 1911 Joseph and Mary Ann were living at 2 Tottington Street, Clayton, Manchester. Joseph was now employed at a rubber works. By 1914 Joseph and Mary Ann had three daughters Josephine, Annie and Bessie and had moved to 14 Stanton Street, Manchester.

On 1st September 1914 Joseph attested at Manchester and joined the 10th (Service) Battalion of the Sherwood Foresters (Notts & Derby) Regiment as Private 6723. His medical report noted that he had an eagle and flag tattooed on his right shoulder. He was unfortunately discharged at Lulworth three months later, however, having been admitted to hospital with tertiary ulcers. His health must have improved as he next appears with the 8th (Service) Battalion of the Lincolnshire Regiment. He was subsequently transferred to C Coy of the 10th (Service) Battalion of the Lincolnshire Regiment, often known as the 'Grimsby Chums', as Corporal 32922.

As Joseph's service document relating to the Lincolnshire Regiment has not survived it is not known exactly when he joined the Lincolnshires but his service number indicates that it was likely to have been towards the end of 1916. Whether he was initially sent to France as a soldier of the 8th or 10th Battalion is also unknown.

In spring 1917 the Chums were prepared for action in the Arras sector in support of the diversion for the French Army attack on the Aisne. This action, known as the 1st Battle of the Scarpe, began on 9th April. By the morning of 10th April the Chums' total casualties were '2 officers killed, 5 wounded and about 100 other ranks' (War diary). Joseph was wounded and he died from his wounds in No. 16 General Hospital, Le Treport, on 14th April 1917, aged 37. He was buried in Mont Huon Military Cemetery, Grave IV. F. 9A.

At the time of his death Joseph's wife was living at 34 John's Road, Wembley, Middlesex. Joseph's mother moved back to Loughborough sometime after 1891 and in 1911 was living at 8 Albert Street with Joseph's brother Thomas and his family. Thomas, who like Joseph joined the Army, served in the First World War with the Sherwood Foresters. He survived the war and spent the rest of his life in Loughborough.

Signalman Bristol Z/3033 Edward Start

 

HMS Kale Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve.

Killed in Action 27th March 1918,  Aged 19.

Commemorated Plymouth Naval Memorial 30.                       

 

Edward Start was born in Loughborough on 18th April 1899 and baptised at All Saints Church, Loughborough, on 4th February 1908. He was the younger son of Joseph Start and his wife Alice (née Johnson) who were married at All Saints Church on 27th August 1894. Edward's father was a grocer's assistant and later became a grocer's traveller. Edward had one brother Joseph and four sisters Alice, Ethel, Winifred and Dorothy. Another sister Nellie died in infancy. In 1901 the Start family lived at 13 Middleton Place, Loughborough, but by 1908 had moved to No. 9 Fearon Street and by 1916 to No. 16 in the same street.

Edward was educated at Rosebery Street Board School. On leaving he was employed as a clerk at the Town Hall.

Edward joined the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve at Bristol on 11th October 1915 when he was only 16 years of age. He was sent to HMS Pembroke I (a base ship) until 20th January 1916. Initially appointed as Ordinary Seaman 1808, he was later renumbered, after training, as Signaller Z/3033.

On 21st January 1916 he was sent to HMS Kale, a Hawthorn Leslie type River class destroyer. HMS Kale was deployed to the 7th Destroyer Flotilla based at the River Humber and took part in counter-mining operations and anti-submarine patrols in the area.




HMS Kale


On 27th March 1918 HMS Kale struck a contact mine and sank in the North Sea, north from Harwich. Forty-one officers and men were lost. It was supposed that the ship had hit a mine laid by a German U-boat on the same day that HMS Kale was sunk but this was not the case. In this period of the war the British were very fast in clearing German minefields. The court martial inquiry into the loss of HMS Kale was very critical of Commander Dennison who was in charge of the destroyer. He had steered a course which was six miles east of the channel which had been swept for mines and straight into a prohibited area which contained a defensive British minefield. Details of the restricted zone had been circulated several weeks earlier, but Dennison had failed to read them or to see that the information provided was marked on the charts. HMS Kale had clearly hit a British mine.

Edward was 19 when he was lost on HMS Kale. He is remembered on the Plymouth Naval Memorial Panel 30. He is also commemorated on the memorial in the former St. Peter's Church building in Loughborough, on the Rosebery School memorial and on the Carillon.

Edward's mother who, according to his father, was much troubled by their son's death committed suicide by drowning in the River Soar on 8th July 1920. Her hat and basket were found abandoned on the river bank at Zouch and her body further down river. On 26th September 1921 Edward's father was remarried to Ellen Tailby at St. Peter's Church, Loughborough.

Able Seaman J/25584 Harry Stenson

 

Royal Navy HMS Queen Mary.

Killed in Action 31st May 1916,   Aged 20.

Commemorated Portsmouth Naval Memorial panel 13.                       

 

Harry Stenson was born on 28th October 1895 in Loughborough, the eldest son of Henry and Fanny Stenson (née Wardle). Harry's father was a carpenter and joiner in the building trade and he was married to Harry's mother in 1893 in Loughborough. Harry had two younger brothers Albert and Arthur and one younger sister Lily. Harry lived with his family at 7 Catherine Street, Loughborough, and then at 8 Hume Street. He was a member of the Emmanuel Church Lads Brigade and attended the Emmanuel Bible Class. In 1911 Harry, aged 15, was an apprentice carpenter with his father.

Harry enlisted into the Royal Navy to serve a twelve year engagement on 12th July 1913 and was allocated the service number J/25584 in Portsmouth. His record of service began on 28th October 1913 when he joined HMS Vivid I (the Navy training barracks at Devonport) as a Boy 2nd Class. He subsequently served on HMS Donegal (a Monmouth-class armoured cruiser) followed by the HMS Russell (a Duncan-class pre-dreadnought battleship). Promoted to Ordinary Seaman he moved to the HMS Victory I (a naval depot in the Portsmouth area). This was followed by six months (March - September 1914) on HMS Iron Duke (a dreadnought battleship) at the end of which he was again promoted, this time to Able Bodied Seaman. He stayed with HMS Iron Duke until May 1915 when he was transferred to HMS Excellent (the Royal Navy's gunnery training establishment on Whale Island, near Portsmouth). From August to November 1915 he was again with HMS Victory I, after which he moved to HMS Queen Mary (the last battlecruiser built by the Navy before the First World War).

Like most of the modern British battlecruisers HMS Queen Mary never left the North Sea during the war. On 28th August 1914 she participated in the Battle of Heligoland Bight as part of the Grand Fleet. In December 1914, as part of the 1st Battlecruiser Squadron, she attempted to intercept a German force that bombarded the North Sea coast of England but was unsuccessful. Following a refit in early 1915 she participated in the largest fleet action of the war, the Battle of Jutland on 31st May 1916. Here she was hit twice by shells from the German battlecruiser Derfflinger during the early part of the battle and her magazines exploded shortly afterwards, sinking the ship. Of HMS Queen Mary's crew 1,266 were lost while only 20 were rescued. Harry was among those lost.

The wreck of HMS Queen Mary was discovered in 1991 and rests in pieces, some of which are upside down, on the floor of the North Sea. Queen Mary is designated as a protected place under the Protection of Military Remains Act 1986 as it is the grave of 1,266 officers and men.

Harry was only 20 when he was killed. He is remembered on the Portsmouth Naval Memorial, Panel 13, and on the memorials of All Saints' Church and Emmanuel Church, Loughborough, as well as on the Carillon.

HMS Queen Mary was a battlecruiser built by the British Royal Navy before World War I, the sole member of her class. She was similar to the Lion-class battlecruisers, though she differed in details from her half-sisters. She was the last battlecruiser completed before the war.

Sapper 207783 Albert Edward Stevens

 

248th Field Coy, Royal Engineers.

Formerly S/5171 R.M.L.I.

Killed in Action 5th June 1918,  Aged 20.

Buried Englebelmer Communal Cemetery Extension, Somme, D. 15. 

 

Albert Edward Stevens was born on 30th July 1897 in Loughborough and baptised on 9th February 1898 at St. Mary's Church, Boulton, Derbyshire. Albert was the son of Samuel Stevens and his wife Sarah Jane (née Godrich) who were married on 14th September 1895 at St. Mary's Church, Boulton. In 1901 the Stevens family was living at 7 Hill Street, Derby, and Albert's father was a railway labourer, but in 1903 they moved to Quorn and by 1906 were back in Loughborough, firstly at 45 Regent Street and later at 18A Station Street. In Loughborough Albert's father was employed as a sawyer's labourer at an engineering works. Albert had two brothers Francis and George and four sisters Elizabeth, Emily, Hilda and Winifred. Another sibling Elsie died aged two.

In 1910 young Albert, aged 12, got himself into trouble. He was charged with obtaining by false pretences the sum of 1 shilling from Ada Bishop, the money of Albert Moon, fruiterer, of Churchgate. Albert was stated to be untruthful but of considerable ability which was misplaced. As Albert had already been under probation for one month the Bench decided to send him to a reformatory school for four years.

Albert was sent to the Northamptonshire Society Reformatory School for Boys, Tiffield, near Towcester. The industrial training included shoemaking, tailoring and technical drawing. Physical drill was a regular part of the boys' routine and part of the dining-room was fitted up as a gymnasium, where air rifle shooting was also practised. Football and cricket matches were played with other local teams, and a fife and drum band was started.

Before Albert's years at Tiffield had expired, however, Mr. Burder of Loughborough, for whom Albert had previously done some gardening, arranged for Albert to be released on licence and Albert was bound as an apprentice to Messrs. Bailey and Simpkin, outfitters, of Market Place, Loughborough. In 1914 Albert unfortunately got into trouble again for stealing money from some pre-payment gas meters in empty houses belonging to Loughborough Corporation. Mr. Burder, however, once again spoke up for Albert and said that Mr. Bailey, of Bailey and Simpkin, was quite willing to take him back again. Albert was put on probation for two more years.

On 8th August 1915 Albert enlisted with the Royal Navy Volunteer Reserve (RNVR) as Ordinary Seaman Z/3046 and sent to a training depot. Three weeks later, on 2nd September, he was transferred to the Royal Marine Divisional Engineers as Deal/5171/S.

The engineer recruits commenced their training at Martin Hill Station, between Dover and St. Margaret's Bay, before moving to Blandford. On 5th December 1915 Albert was sent with a draft of men to Mudros, a town on the island of Lemnos in the north Aegean Sea and used as an Allied base and harbour in the Gallipoli Campaign. Albert arrived in Mudros on 26th January 1916 and joined the 1st Field Company of Royal Naval Division (RND) Engineers who had just returned from the Gallipoli Peninsula in January 1916. In April 1916 it was decided to bring these troops back to France and at the same time command of the Division was transferred from the Admiralty to the War Office. The Division was now renamed the 63rd (Royal Naval) Division.

On 12th May 1916 Albert left Mudros and arrived at Marseille on HMT Ionian on 22nd May. From Marseille the company travelled by train to Pont Remy, detraining on 24th May and marched to billets at Hocquincourt. Headquarters were at nearby Hallencourt. The war diaries for the company from May to August 1916 have been lost but the company was presumably attached the 47th Division with the rest of the Royal Naval Division for assimilation into the British Expeditionary Force and training in the Angres-Souchez sector of the front.

On 7th August 1916 Albert was appointed to the position of Tailor (Deputy Assistant Director of Ordnance Services) but after eleven days he returned to the 1st Field Company.

From 1st-16th September 1916 the company was at Calonne, working on the construction of deep dugouts at Calonne and Aix-Noulette, repairing and improving trenches at Calonne, and digging gun pits at Bully-Grenay. On 17th September they moved via Sains-en-Gohelle and Hersin-Coupigny to Bajus. At Bajus there were squad and physical drills, parades and inspections and training sessions until 4th October when the company moved by march and train to a camp near Acheux. On 6th October the company marched on to Mailly-Maillet and again pitched camp. Work now began in the Serre sector on deep dugouts, on a pipeline, and at the Royal Engineers Park at Beaussart. From 10th October there was additional work in the Redan sector and from 15th October hut construction in the Englebelmer sector. Further work at Englebelmer included marking out assembly trenches, improvements to a pumping plant, the construction of cages for prisoners, putting up trench mortar boards and blocking up disused trenches.

On 7th November Albert was sent to hospital suffering from appendicitis. When he rejoined the Royal Naval Division one month later on 7th December he was sent to the 2nd Field Company. In January 1917 the company was involved in operations on the Ancre, taking over positions around Grandcourt, and afterwards moved to the area of Martinsart.

On 31st January 1917 the three field companies of the Royal Naval Division engineers were transferred to the Corps of Royal Engineers in the Army. Albert became Sapper 207783 in the 248th Field Company, Royal Engineers.

From 2nd February to 7th March the company was based at Mesnil. During this time they repaired the Hamel-Beaucourt road, Mill Road bridge, and a light railway, erected Nissen huts at Varennes, made shelters for stretchers, strengthened and wired the front line, excavated dugouts, deepened trenches and repaired wagons. From 8th to 20th March the company was at Val de Maison, on drill and parades in the mornings and working in the afternoons. On 21st March they began a six-day move via Barly, Nuncq, Marest and Nédonchel to Oblinghem where they rested until 2nd April.

On 3rd April the company moved to Rebreuve to repair the Estrée-Couché road and then proceeded to St. Catherine, north of Arras, to mend wells, erect barbed wire in front of the reserve line, build artillery bridges over trenches, and work on the Arras-Bailleul road. Progress, however, was impeded by heavy enemy shelling. In May the company was constructing and improving camps at Ecoivres. They also mapped out a trench system practice ground. During June the company worked on the front line trench system, making fire trenches, draining the area and extending a tramway.

In July the company was in the Gavrelle sector for work in Oppy Wood. They also repaired bridges, erected camouflage and improved the back billets and stables. Much of August and September was spent working on the front line trench system and dugouts as well as erecting new divisional headquarters. During the last week in September the company was at Bethencourt in training for active operations.

On 3rd October the company entrained at Savy for Proven and proceeded to Herzeele. Here they erected their own camp before beginning road repair work, digging drains and laying and fixing duckboards. On 23rd October the company moved to billets by the Yser Canal to lay and fix tramways and repair various points destroyed by shellfire. On 4th December they moved to Clifford Camp in the back area to overhaul and clean transport vehicles.

On 8th December the company entrained at Hopoutre for Bapaume and marched to camp at Barastre. From here they moved up to Etricourt and then Metz to erect wire entanglements on the reserve line and excavate new front and support line trenches. The communications trenches were also cleaned. This work continued until 23rd January 1918, when the company left Metz for Bertincourt for similar work there. From 21st February -20th March work was completed on the Ribecourt defences and on the defence systems between Trescault and Ribecourt.

When the Germans opened their Spring Offensive on 21st March the company was forced into an almost continuous retreat to Trescault, Neuville, Ytres, Rocquigny and then Le Transloy. On 24th March they held the line west of High Wood with the Drake and Hawke Battalions of the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve and on 25th March held the flank position west of the High Wood to Martinpuich road but they were subsequently forced to retire across the Ancre. After destroying a bridge and erecting barricades at Hamel the company moved via Mesnil to Englebelmer.

From 1st-14th April the company dug and wired new front and support lines at Englebelmer before moving to Acheux to work on the divisional headquarters and for training. On 24th April they began work on the Vadencourt-Varennes pipeline and on dry weather tracks in the area. In May the company drained, deepened and wired front line trenches and made new communications trenches to the front line and outposts in the Englebelmer and Bouzincourt area. Inter-section reliefs were carried out, with one section kept in reserve at Clairfaye to make a disinfecting chamber for the ambulance and to clean and paint transport.

On 5th June 1918 the camp outside Engelbelmer was shelled by the enemy. Albert was in a shallow dugout and a shell hit the roof, killing him instantly and wounding two others. He was only 20.

Writing to Albert's parents, his Major, on behalf of the company and himself, regretted the loss of one who had been a long time with them, and who had done much good work.

Albert was buried the same day in Englebelmer Communal Cemetery Extension, Grave D. 15, the cemetery where several of his comrades who fell towards the end of 1916 also lay. The Lieutenant for whom Albert for some time acted as batman, also wrote a message of condolence and sympathy to the family, in which he said: 'You will miss his cheery letters, and my thoughts go out to you in this sad loss. One can only trust that when the day breaks and the shadows flee away we shall all be reunited once more. May God bless and keep you and yours at this time'.

Albert is remembered on the memorial in the former St. Peter's church building, Loughborough and on the Carillon.

Private 292136 Arthur Stevenson

 

13th Bn, Cheshire Regiment.

Killed in Action 10th August 1917, Aged 19.

Commemorated Ypres (Menin Gate) panel 19 - 22.

 

Arthur Stevenson was born in Loughborough in early 1898. He was the eldest son of Arthur Stevenson, a cotton pattern framework knitter, and his wife Mary Jane (née Gibson). Arthur Junior's parents were married at Emmanuel Church, Loughborough, on 19th April 1897 and Arthur Junior had two brothers Walter and Leonard and one sister Mary. Another brother George died under the age of one. In 1901 the family lived at 104 Leopold Street, Loughborough, but by 1911 had moved to 79 Station Street. Arthur Junior's parents later moved to 12 Granville Street and then to 15 Beechwood Terrace, Burley, Leeds.

Arthur appears to have enlisted in late 1916. He joined the 13th (Service) Battalion of the Cheshire Regiment (informally known as the Wirral Battalion) as Private 292136. The 13th Cheshires received a large batch of 178 Ordinary Rank reinforcements from England on 13th February 1917 and it seems likely that Arthur was in this batch. It is impossible to know for certain whether this was the case, however, as Arthur's service papers have not survived. When the reinforcements arrived the battalion was in training at Carters Camp, De Seule, on the Ypres Salient.

On 20th February the battalion began a move via Caëstre and Campagne to Acquin where they remained for just over a month in further training, including digging and range practice. On 20th March the battalion left Acquin for Merris. Working parties ensued digging new gun positions between Ploegsteert and Hill 60. From 6th to 25th April the battalion was based in billets at Le Grand Beaumart near Steenwerck and then at Neuve-Eglise for attack practice and further working parties.

On 25th April the battalion went into the line in the Wulverghem Sector, mainly spending the time on wire cutting and patrolling. After a return to billets at Le Grand Beaumart and then Neuve-Eglise for further working parties, the battalion made a successful raid on the enemy on 24th May. At the end of May the battalion entrained at Watten for Bailleul and travelled by road to La Crèche. More working parties followed before the Brigade concentrated at Breermerschen on 5th June. Here tools, bombs, and flares were issued in preparation for an attack and on 7th June the battalion took part in the Battle of Messines, suffering considerable casualties.

During the rest of June there were several trench tours in the line amid intermittent shelling. For the remainder of June and most of July the battalion was training at Matringhem and Abeele and providing working parties for road making. On 5th August the battalion took over the line at Bellewarde Ridge, with two companies at Westhoek Ridge. On 10th August, from Windhoek Ridge, the battalion attacked the German front and support lines. 50 Ordinary Ranks were killed and 266 were wounded. Arthur, aged 19, was one of those killed.

Arthur's body was never found. He is remembered on the Menin Gate Memorial, Ypres, panels 19-22, and on the memorial in the former St. Peter's Church building, Loughborough, as well as on the Carillon.

Arthur's brother Walter served with the Sherwood Foresters. He survived the war.

Private  240146 Frank Bradley Stevenson

 

1/5th Bn, Leicestershire Regiment.

Previously served as Private 1491

Killed in Action 30th June 1917, Aged 21.

Buried Loos British Cemetery, XIX. B 23. 

(his Brother George Harry Bradley Stevenson also fell see below)  

Frank Bradley Stephenson was born in 1895, the son of Samuel Bradley Stevenson and his wife Mary (née Cross) of Thorpe Acre, Loughborough. Frank's parents were married at All Saints Church, Thorpe Acre, Loughborough on 24th April 1882 and Frank's father was a bricklayer's labourer. Frank had four brothers Samuel, Frederick, George and Leonard and three sisters Lizzie, Florence and Violet. Two other siblings died young.

In 1911 Frank, aged 14, was a fruiterer's errand boy, but between 1911 and 1914 he was apprenticed as a joiner to Messrs W. Moss and Sons, Queen's Road, Loughborough. He also joined the Territorial Army with the Leicestershire Regiment. When war broke out in August 1914 he was mobilised as Private 1491 (later renumbered as Private 240146) with the 1/5th Leicesters and sent to Bishop's Stortford and then Luton for training. He went to France on 28th February 1915.

Frank travelled by train to Arneke where the battalion detrained and marched to Hardifort. They were then held in reserve for, but did not take part in the Battle of Neuve Chapelle. For the whole of April they were in trenches near Wulverghem and subjected to continual sniping by the enemy, and then moved on to Zillebeke, followed by a tour in the area of Mount Kemmel. From July to September 1915 the battalion was in the area of Zillebeeke and Ouderdom. On 12th October 1915 the battalion travelled to the Hohenzollern Redoubt, arriving in Vermelles at 10.00pm. They spent the next eight hours in communication trenches. On 13th October 1915 during the attack on the Redoubt, part of the final stages of the Battle of Loos, the 1/5th Battalion was in reserve until just after midday, when they 'went over the top' and came under intense machine gun fire. After Loos the battalion moved to Hesdigneul in October, La Couture in November and Merville and Thienne in December.

January 1916 was taken up with a potential move of Frank's battalion to Egypt which was aborted at Marseilles, the battalion being returned to Candas, and the area of Vimy Ridge. In mid-February 1916 the 1/5th Battalion took over the line north of the River Ancre opposite Beaumont-Hamel in France. On 29th February the battalion moved to the area of Doullens where the men worked on improving the trenches despite being subjected to a considerable bombardment from the enemy with mines and craters being blown.

From 9th March 1916 the 1/5th Leicesters were in the area of Vimy Ridge, Pas de Calais, either in the front line, in support, in reserve or at rest. On 27th April the battalion was sent to the neighbourhood of Neuville St. Vaast to work with the French and English tunnellers and then to billets in Luchaux for bayonet training. This was followed by a period at Souastre digging cable trenches, and constructing bomb stores and gun pits in preparation for a 'big push'.

On 4th June 1916 the battalion was moved up to trenches near Gommecourt. This was followed by further training at Warlincourt. On 30th June the battalion assembled in a trench near Foncquevillers Church ready for the diversionary attack at Gommecourt on the first day of the Somme Offensive planned for 1st July.

On 1st July 1916 the 46th Division of the Army, of which the 1/5th Leicesters were part, had 2445 casualties at Gommecourt. On 7th July they relieved the 4th Lincolnshires in the trenches opposite Essarts-lès-Bucquoy. The battalion remained in the area of Monchy-au-Bois until 29th October, either in the trenches or resting at Bienvillers or Pommier. The battalion's next move was to Millencourt for intensive battle training, returning to Halloy and then Souastre at the beginning of December.

The battalion remained at Souastre until 11th March 1917 and then moved up to the front line taking over 2,600 yards of frontage from the La Brayelle road to the Hannescamps-Monchy road. On 17th March they moved into Gommecourt for road mending before moving to Bertrancourt, Raincheval and then Rainvillers not far from Amiens.

On 28th March the battalion marched to Saleux, entrained for Lillers in the north, and marched to Laires. Training took place until 13th April and continued for three further days at Manqueville, after which the battalion moved to the western outskirts of Lens. From there they marched to Bully-Grenay and went into the front line trenches where they were heavily shelled. On 29th April the battalion went into rest billets in cellars at Cité St. Pierre until 3rd May when they went into support trenches. On 8th they went into billets at Fosse 10 near Petit Sains for training and on 12th into reserve at Angres. Further trench tours south-west of Lens followed until 26th May when the battalion went into billets at Marqueffles Farm for training in bayonet fighting and bombardment and to practise methods of attack. On 6th June the battalion was back in the line and on 8th June went into the attack, suffering 96 casualties.

Apart from two breaks at Red Mill from 9th-13th and 18th-20th June the battalion was in the trenches until 22nd June. On 21st June C Coy was accidentally gassed by the Royal Engineers, resulting in 94 casualties of whom 22 died. Back at Marqueffles Farm from 22nd the battalion had Lewis gun and signalling classes as well as attack training over a flagged course. On 27th June the battalion moved up to the line ready to attack on the following day. As they climbed out of the trenches on 28th June they met with the inevitable machine gun fire.

On 30th June the battalion was heavily shelled and Frank was killed in action, aged 21. He was buried in Loos British Cemetery, Grave XIX. B. 23.

The Captain of Frank's company, writing to Frank's parents, said: 'It is with the greatest regret I have to inform you that your son Frank has been killed in action. Ever since he has been out I have known him and he was one of the best company runners for 18 months. His captain who is now in England used to say he was worth his weight in gold. Truly he was a fine little fellow'.

Mr and Mrs Stevenson had two other sons, Samuel and Frederick, on active service in France, while another son, George was killed in action July 1916.

Frank is remembered on the memorial in All Saints Church, Thorpe Acre, Loughborough asnd on the Carillon.

Private 15565 George Harry Bradley Stevenson

 

6th Bn, Leicestershire Regiment.

Killed in Action 14th July 1916, Aged 23.

Commemorated Thiepval Memorial, Somme, pier & face 2c & 3a.

(his Brother Frank Bradley Stevenson also fell see above) 

George Harry Bradley Stevenson was born in 1892, the son of Samuel Bradley Stevenson and his wife Mary (née Cross) of Thorpe Acre, Loughborough. George's parents were married at All Saints Church, Thorpe Acre, Loughborough, on 24th April 1882 and George's father was a bricklayer's labourer. George had four brothers Samuel, Frederick, Frank and Leonard and three sisters Lizzie, Florence and Violet. Two other siblings died young.

George, a labourer, enlisted on 28th August 1914 at Loughborough. He joined the 6th (Service) Battalion of the Leicestershire Regiment, part of Kitchener's First New Army, as Private 15565. George was then sent to Bordon, near Aldershot, Hampshire where the emphasis was on individual training, squadron and platoon drill. In March 1915 the battalion went into billets in Liphook.

In April 1915 the 6th Battalion became part of the 37th Division of the Army and concentrated at Cholderton on Salisbury Plain. On 25th June the 37th Division was inspected by King George V at Sidbury Hill. On 22nd July 1915 the Division began to cross the English Channel and by 2nd August all units were concentrated near Tilques not far from St.Omer in the Nord-Pas-de-Calais. George embarked for France on 29th July 1915.

In September George's battalion moved via Watten, Houlie, St. Omer, Eecke and Dranoutre to Wulverghem and Berles-au-Bois, a short distance from the front line south-west of Arras. In the months that followed the 6th Battalion did tours in the trenches, alternating with the 8th Leicesters who relieved them. The battalion was engaged in localised operations seeking a tactical advantage and remained in the area around Bienvillers and Bailleulmont until July 1916.

On 1st July 1916 the 6th Battalion moved from Saulty to Humbercamps, where it was held in reserve for the Somme Offensive which had just begun. On 6th July the battalion marched to Talmas to join the Army's 21st Division. From 7th to 10th July the battalion was in Hengest-sur-Somme, and from there on 10th marched to Ailly, entrained for Méricourt, took buses to Méaulte, and then proceeded to Fricourt. On 14th July the battalion took part in an attack on and successfully captured Bazentin-le-Petit Wood and village. George, aged 23, was killed in action in this battle.

George is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial Pier and Face 2C and 3A and on the memorial at All Saints Church, Thorpe Acre, as well as on the Carillon.

George's brother Frank, who was serving with the 1/5th Leicestershire Regiment, was killed in 1917.

Private 8361 Silas Stevenson

 

1st Bn, Leicestershire Regiment.

Died of Wounds 15th September 1916,  Aged 28.

Buried Serre Road Cemetery No. 2, X111 G. 6.

 

Silas Stevenson was born in Quorn in 1887. He was the second son of William Stevenson, a framework knitter, and his wife Catherine, known as 'Kate' (née Tuckwood) who were married in Quorn in 1876. Silas had three brothers George, Willie and Percy and three sisters Fanny, Kate and Clara. Silas, who in 1901 and aged 13 was a waggoner's boy, lived with his parents and family in New Quorn until his father died in 1905. His mother then moved to Station Road, Quorn, with her two youngest children Percy and Clara and took a position as a cook in an elastic web factory. Silas was now a farm labourer and no longer living at home.

On 18th May 1908 Silas enlisted in Loughborough, signing up for twelve years' service, seven in the Colours and five in the Reserve. He joined the 1st Battalion of the Leicestershire Regiment as Private 8361 and trained at Leicester until 18th November 1908 when he was posted to Shorncliffe Army camp near Cheriton in Kent. He remained at Shorncliffe until January 1910 when he was posted to Aldershot. After eighteen months at Aldershot he was sent to the Army Barracks in Fermoy, County Cork, Ireland. He remained in Fermoy until the end of March 1914 when he was posted back to Leicester.

Silas went with the British Expeditionary Force to France on 9th September 1914, landing at St. Nazaire, Brittany, on the following day. From St. Nazaire the battalion travelled by train to Mortcerf, east of Paris, arriving early in the morning of 13th September and then began a long march to the British Army in the line at Courcelles, on far side of the Aisne.

On 14th September the 1st Leicesters relieved the Worcesters and Royal Irish Rifles in the trenches at La Fosse Marguel where they came under constant shell fire and sniping until they in turn were relieved on 12th October by 106th French Infantry Regiment. On 13th October the Battalion entrained at Fismes, 40 men crammed to each horse box. Some slept on the roof, although it was bitterly cold. They detrained on 17th October at Cassel and marched to take up defensive positions at Croix Blanche. From there, two days later, they marched to Rue de Bois, Armentières, and Bois Grenier, the day on which the First Battle of Ypres began.

In the spring of 1915 the 1st Leicesters were stationed near Armentières, and were involved in an attack intended to divert the enemy from the area of Neuve Chapelle. Silas was made a Lance Corporal in March 1915 but went back to being a Private on his own request at the end of May. In June and July 1915 the 1st Leicesters were fighting again at Hooge. On the 4th October 1915 Silas received a gunshot wound in his left hip. He was taken to No. 17 Field Ambulance and transferred to No. 8 Stationary Hospital at Wimereux three days later. He rejoined his battalion on 20th November 1915.

In December 1915 the 1st Leicesters were occupying trenches in the Potijze sector or trying to get rest and shelter by the canal bank near Ypres. Between January and July 1916 the battalion remained on the Ypres Salient.

On 1st August 1916 the 1st Leicesters left the trenches at Potizje and entrained at Proven for France. They reached billets at Lealvillers, Somme, on 4th August and on the following day marched to camp in Mailly-Maillet Wood. A period of training and working parties followed. On 14th August they went into the trenches opposite Beaumont-Hamel, where they remained until 19th when they returned to the Mailly Wood camp. On 27th August they left for Flesselles. Here additional training took place. On 8th September they occupied former German trenches in the area of Trônes Wood on the northern slope of the Montaubon Ridge while in the following days the build-up for a major battle took place.

Tragically Silas was killed in action, aged 28, on 15th September 1915, the first day of the Battle of Flers-Courcelette. When the 1st Leicesters attacked Morval Mill the battalion was slaughtered by machine gun fire and 410 men and NCOs and 14 officers were killed and wounded.

Silas is buried at Serre Road Cemetery No. 2, Somme, Grave XIII G. 6. He was the fiancé of Elizabeth Teagle of Barrow Road, Quorn. His mother, who had married again in 1911 to Charles W. Gifford, an widowed engine fitter, had moved to 29 Selbourne Street in Loughborough and then, by 1920, to 60 New King Street. Her unmarried son Percy and daughter Clara still lived with her and her married daughter Fanny Clarke lived in Queen Street, Loughborough.
 

Corporal 11784 Albert Edgley Stockwell

 

8th Bn, Leicestershire Regiment.

Killed in Action 25th September 1916,  Aged 23.

Commemorated Thiepval Memorial, Somme, pier & face 2c & 3a.

Albert Edgley Stockwell was born in Loughborough in late 1892 or early 1893. He was the eldest son of Frederick Stockwell from Woodhouse Eaves, a stoker of stationary engines, and his wife Sarah (née Hand) from Barrow on Soar. Albert's parents were married in Barrow on Soar in 1885 and came to live in Loughborough. They first lived at 72 Frederick Street, but by 1901 had moved to 24 Leopold Street and by 1911 to Nanpantan where Albert's father was employed as a pump driver in a stone quarry. Albert had three brothers Francis, Frederick and Kenneth and two sisters Florence and Alice. In 1911 Albert, aged 18, worked in the elastic web textile trade but between 1911 and 1914 he moved to a job in the Great Central Railway goods yard.

Albert enlisted on 2nd September 1914 and joined the 8th (Service) Battalion of the Leicestershire Regiment as Private 11784. From the Depot he was sent firstly to Aldershot for training. He moved to Shorncliffe in Kent at the end of February 1915. In April 1915 Albert's battalion became part of the newly established 37th Division of Kitchener's 2nd New Army and the Division began to concentrate on Salisbury Plain. On 25th June the units were inspected by King George V at Sidbury Hill. On 22nd July the Division began to cross the English Channel and Albert travelled to France on 29th July 1915. Initially the 37th Division concentrated near Tilques. On 12th August 1915 Albert was promoted to the rank of Corporal, a position confirmed two months later.

The 8th Battalion then moved via Watten, Houlie, St. Omer, Eecke and Dranoutre to Wulverghem and Berles-au-Bois, a short distance from the front line. In the months that followed the 8th Battalion did tours in the trenches, alternating with the 6th Leicesters who relieved them. They were Involved in operations in Bailleul, Le Bizet, Armentières, Mondicourt, Beauval and Berles-au-Bois.

On 26th March 1916 Albert was posted to the 110/1 Trench Mortar Battery attending the 8th Leicesters. In April 1916 he moved with the 8th Leicesters to the Doullens area for six weeks cleaning up, resting and training. In mid-May the battalion returned once more to the trenches in the Bienvillers-Bailleulmont sector, but nearer Gommecourt. The situation became increasingly hazardous as the month wore on when the Germans began to use a new and more accurate type of trench mortar.

The 8th Battalion did not participate in the first days of the Somme Offensive but was held in reserve. On 6th July Albert's battalion left billets at Humbercamps and marched to Talmas, continuing on the following day to billets in Soues. On 10th July the battalion marched to Ailly-sur-Somme, entrained for Méricourt and travelled from there by lorry to bivouacs in Méaulte. Between 10th and 13th July the battalion was in the trenches near Fricourt and subjected to fairly continuous enemy fire.

On the 14th July the battalion was in action at the Battle of Bazentin Ridge. After the battle the battalion withdrew to Ribemont and then to Méricourt, and having entrained for Saleux, marched to Soues. From Soues the battalion moved to Longeau, Gouy-en-Ternois, Lattre St. Quentin and then to Arras where they went into the trenches on 29th July. Casualty figures for the battalion in July had been high: 17 officers and 415 other ranks had been killed, wounded or were missing.

The battalion went into Divisional Reserve at Agnez-les-Ouisans on 8th August but went back into the trenches at Arras on 18th August where they were on the receiving end of trench mortar bombs and heavy shells until 2nd September. They were relieved on 2nd September and marched to Duisans and on the following day proceeded to Lignereuil. On 13th September they marched to Frevent and entrained for Dernancourt. On 15th they reached a point between Fricourt and Méaulte before proceeding to Trônes Wood on 16th.

From 17th-23rd September the battalion was in reserve and supporting the troops in the front line by providing carrying parties. In the evening of 24th September the battalion marched up to take their position ready for an attack but before they reached this point the men were heavily shelled by the enemy. Just after midday on 25th September the 8th Leicesters launched a successful attack in waves on the right of Flers and then pressed on to Gueudecourt, Considerable losses, however, were suffered in this action.

Albert was killed in action on 25th September, aged 23. He is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial Pier and Face 2C and 3A, on the memorial at Emmanuel Church, Loughborough, and on the Carillon. He is also remembered on two memorials at St. Mary's in Charnwood Church, one in the churchyard and one inside the church. In addition he is commemorated on the Great Central Railway war memorial in Sheffield Victoria Railway Station forecourt and on the Roll of Honour produced by the Great Central Railway Society and displayed in the Royal Victoria Holiday Inn Hotel, Sheffield.

Albert's brothers Francis and Frederick also served in the war, Francis with the 8th, 9th and 11th Leicesters and Frederick with the Lancashire Fusiliers. Both survived the war.

Private 204171 Wilfred Stokes

 

21st (2nd Tyneside Scottish) Bn, Northumberland Fusiliers.

Formerly 15190 Leicestershire Regiment.

Died of Wounds 24th August 1917,  Aged 21.

Buried Roisel Communal Cemetery  Ext, Somme, III. C. 10. 

 

Wilfred Stokes was born in 1896 in Nanpantan, Loughborough, and baptised at Emmanuel Church on 19th March 1902. He was the youngest child of John Stokes and his wife Matilda (née Price) who were married at Emmanuel Church on 10th June 1882. Wilfred's father was at various times a farm labourer and a gardener and the Stokes family had lived in Thorpe Acre before moving to Nanpantan. Wilfred had three brothers William, John and Walter, and one sister Lily. Wilfred's mother died in 1906 and by 1911 Wilfred, aged 14, was employed as an errand boy for an ironmonger.

Wilfred enlisted at Loughborough just after the outbreak of war and joined the 9th (Service) Battalion of the Leicestershire Regiment as Private 15190. He was sent to Bourley Camp, Aldershot, Hampshire in September 1914 and at the end of February 1915, to Shorncliffe in Kent. In April 1915 Wilfred's battalion became part of the newly established 37th Division of Kitchener's 2nd New Army and the Division began to concentrate on Salisbury Plain. Wilfred was encamped on Perham Down.

Wilfred was sent to France on 29th July 1915, travelling from Folkestone to Boulogne on the SS St. Seiriol. Initially the 37th Division concentrated near Tilques. The 9th Battalion then moved via Watten, Houlie, St. Omer, Eecke and Dranoutre to Wulverghem and Bienvillers-au-Bois, a short distance from the front line. In the months that followed the 9th Battalion did tours in the trenches, alternating with the 7th Leicesters who relieved them. They were Involved in operations in Bailleul, Le Bizet, Armentières, Mondicourt, Beauval and Berles-au-Bois. In April 1916 the 9th Leicesters moved to the Doullens area for six weeks for cleaning up, resting and training. In mid-May they returned once more to the trenches in the Bienvillers-Bailleulmont sector. In June there was a series of nightly excursions into No-Man's Land with patrols attempting to gather information on the enemy's dispositions. On other occasions there were working parties out repairing the British barbed wire entanglements. The situation became increasingly hazardous as the month wore on when the Germans began to use a new and more accurate type of trench mortar.

On 1st July 1916 the 9th Leicesters moved into position at Souastre in readiness to reinforce the troops attacking at Gommecourt. No orders came, however, and the men marched back to Humbercamps. Training continued on the 4th and 5th July. On 6th and 7th July they marched via Talmas to Crouy and on 8th and 9th July they rested and were addressed by the Divisional Commander on the forthcoming battle. On 10th July they moved to Ailly-sur-Somme and then entrained for Méricourt before going by bus to bivouacs in Méaulte north-east of Amiens. They then took over as Quadrangle Trench and Quadrangle support. On 11th there was heavy shelling but no infantry attack. On 12th July the 9th battalion was relieved and moved back to Fricourt. On 14th July the battalion moved up to the south edge of Mametz Wood just as an intense bombardment of the German positions began, and on to Bazentin-Le-Petit Wood. On 12th July the 9th battalion was relieved and moved back to Fricourt.

Finally relieved on 16th July the battalion, which had suffered heavy casualties, marched to Fricourt and on to Ribemont on the following day. On 18th July they entrained at Méricourt for Saleux. After nine days of marching and some motor lorry transit the battalion arrived at Arras on 27th July, where for all of August the battalion was in the trenches or resting in billets at Arras. After some days training and resting at the beginning of September the battalion marched to Frevent and entrained for 'Edgehill' station near Dernancourt. On 16th September the battalion moved to bivouac near Fricourt and after two days moved again to bivouac in front of Bernafay Wood.

On 24th September the battalion moved up to the assembly trenches in front of Gueudecourt in preparation for an attack on the following day and were heavily shelled in the process. From 25th to 28th September the battalion took part in the Battle of Morval and sustained considerable casualties - 12 officers and 274 ordinary ranks.

On 2nd October the battalion moved from Bernafay Wood to Bernancourt and on 4th October entrained at 'Edge Station' for Longpré-les-Corps-Saints and then marched to Francières. On 7th October they entrained at Pont Remy for Béthune and marched to Fouquières-lès-Béthune. On 10th October they marched to Sailly-la-Bourse and between 11th October and 15th December the battalion was either in the front line trenches, in the support line or in reserve. On 15th December the battalion was ordered to move to the Montmorency Barracks in Béthune where they stayed until 20th December when they marched to billets in Raimbart. The battalion remained in Raimbart in training until 27th January 1917.

The date when Wilfred was transferred to the 1/4th Battalion of the Northumberland Fusiliers as Private 207141 is unknown as his service record has not survived. He was subsequently transferred again on a date unknown to the 21st (Service) Battalion (2nd Tyneside Scottish) of the Northumberland Fusiliers. The 2nd Tyneside Scottish, however, received daily drafts of reinforcements in January 1917 and further drafts in March, April and July 1917. Wilfred could have been in any one of these drafts.

In January 1917 the 2nd Tyneside Scottish was in training at Fort Rompin and Erquinghem and billeted at Mont des Cats. In the evenings The Yellow Diamonds, the theatrical troupe of the battalion, gave theatrical performances in the theatre at Erquinghem. In mid-February orders were received to move south to the Arras front and on 18th February the battalion began the march to Ecoivres. By the 24th February the battalion was in the front line at Arras. In March there were working parties at Anzin and Arras as well as training at Ecoivres.

On 9th and 10th April the battalion took part in the 1st Battle of the Scarpe at the opening of the Arras Offensive, after which the battalion was transported to Monchy-Breton for reorganisation. April brought more trench tours. In May the battalion returned to the area of the Scarpe, with orders to capture Roeux. After a refit and training in Buneville the battalion moved in July to Peronne in the Hargicourt sector.

Wilfred was in the trenches at Hargicourt when he was wounded in late August. He died of his wounds on 24th August 1917, aged 21, at 102 Military Field Ambulance. He was buried in Grave III. C. 10 in Roisel Communal Cemetery Extension, Somme. Wilfred is remembered on the memorial in Emmanuel Church, Loughborough, on the Roll of Honour in St. Mary's in Charnwood Church, Nanpantan, and on the Carillon. His medals are in the Carillon War Memorial Museum, Loughborough.

Wilfred's brother William served with the Royal Navy in the war, and his brother Walter with the City of London Yeomanry. Unlike Wilfred both survived.
 

Private 27907 Herbert Thomas Stone

 

1st Bn, Leicestershire Regiment.

Killed in Action 19th September 1916,  Aged 26.

Commemorated Thiepval Memorial, Somme, pier & face 2c & 3a.

Herbert Thomas Stone was born in Tottenham, Middlesex, in 1890. He was the only child of Thomas Stone, a grocer's assistant, and his wife Louisa (formerly Smith, née Rogers). Herbert's mother had been widowed when she married Thomas Stone by Licence on 23rd May 1889 at St. Peter's Church, Regent Square, Camden, London. She already had one son Robert Smith from her first marriage. When Herbert was born Thomas, Louisa and Robert were living at 68 Olinda Road, Hackney, and Louisa was a dressmaker.

By 1901 the family had moved to 88 Grange Walk, Bermondsey but by 1911 appeared to have split up. Herbert had moved to Loughborough where he earned his living as a polisher and was lodging at 143 Burder Street with the Whitcroft family. His mother was with him and her occupation was given as 'Housekeeper'. Herbert's father, meanwhile, was living at Rowton House, 55 Fieldgate Street, Whitechapel - a hostel for low-paid working men in London.

In the spring of 1913 Herbert married Mary Elizabeth Corah, a wheelwright's daughter, in Loughborough and the couple set up home at 80 Station Street.

Herbert appears to have enlisted in the spring of 1916 and joined the Leicestershire Regiment as Private 27907. The precise date when Herbert was sent to France to join the 1st Battalion of the Leicesters is unknown but it is likely that he joined his battalion on the Ypres Salient sometime in the spring or early summer of 1916.

On 1st August 1916 the 1st Leicesters left the trenches at Potizje and entrained at Proven for France. They reached billets at Lealvillers, Somme, on 4th August and on the following day marched to camp in Mailly-Maillet Wood. A period of training and working parties followed. On 14th August they went into the trenches opposite Beaumont-Hamel, where they remained until 19th when they returned to the Mailly Wood camp. On 27th August they left for Flesselles. Here additional training took place. On 8th September they occupied former German trenches in the area of Trônes Wood on the northern slope of the Montaubon Ridge while in the following days the build-up for a major battle took place.

The Battle of Flers-Courcelette began on 15th September and Herbert Stone was killed in action, aged 26, on 19th September. He is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial Pier and Face 2C and 3A, and on the memorial in the former St. Peter's Church building in Loughborough as well as on the Carillon.

Herbert's widow was married again in 1924 in Loughborough to Herbert Wakefield.

Sapper 184938 William Storey

 

Royal Engineers.

Died 23rd October 1919,  Aged 43.

Buried Washington Cemetery, Durham, D. C. 76.

 

William was the son of William and Margaret Storey; husband of Ada Hannah Storey of 19 Oliver Rd. Loughborough.
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Gunner 83447 John William Stubbs

 

C Bty, 11th Bde, Royal Field Artillery.

Died of Wounds 28th November 1918,  Aged 29.

Buried Solesmes British Cemetery, I. E. 1. 

 

John was the husband of Violet Stubbs of 8 Bedford Street, Loughborough.

Private 241837 Walter Stubbs

 

1/5th Bn, Leicestershire Regiment.

Killed in Action 11th October 1918, Aged 22.

Buried Busigny Communal Cemetery Ext, IV. C. 18.

 

Private 255965 Benjamin William Sturgis

 

18th Bn, (Queen Mary's Own) Hussars.

Died of Wounds 19th August 1918, Aged 23.

Buried St Sever Cemetery Extension, R. III. F. 17. 

 

Benjamin William Sturgis (Sturges, or Sturgess) was born in Great Bowden, Leicestershire, in 1895 and baptised on 30th June 1895 at the Church of St. Peter and St. Paul, Great Bowden. He was the son of Joseph Sturgis (Sturges, or Sturgess), a carpenter, and his wife Elizabeth (née Johnson) who were married at St. Luke's Church, Laughton, Leicestershire, on 19th August 1886.

Benjamin had four brothers Francis, Samuel, George and Cecil, and five sisters Susan (who died young), Winifred, Gertrude, Margaret and Dora. As their family grew in size Joseph and Elizabeth Sturgis appear to have shared the upbringing of their children with Joseph's married (but childless) sister Sarah Bishop and her husband Samuel, a blacksmith. In 1901 Benjamin and his sister Winifred were living with Samuel and Sarah Bishop in Quorn Road, Mountsorrel, and in 1911 Benjamin, Winifred, Margaret and Samuel were all with the Bishops at Woodbrook, Mountsorrel. Benjamin's parents still lived at Great Bowden.

In 1911 Benjamin was a grocer's apprentice. On 30th March 1916 Benjamin, now a grocer at Market Harborough, married Hilda Porter at St. Dionysius' Church, Market Harborough. It is likely that Benjamin was conscripted later in 1916 but his exact date of enlistment is unknown as his service papers have not survived.

Benjamin joined the 18th (Queen Mary's Own) Hussars, part of the 1st Cavalry Division, as Private 255965. His new wife, meanwhile, returned to her home town of Loughborough, to 38 Morley Street.

The earliest point at which Benjamin joined the 18th Hussars in the field is likely to have been the autumn of 1916. The 18th Hussars received batches of reinforcements in November and December 1916 and in April, June, October, November and December of 1917 and Benjamin could have been in any one of these batches.

Between November 1916 and early April 1917 the 18th Hussars were at Bernieulles, occupied with winter training, instruction in signalling and musketry, and exercising the 588 horses. On 5th April they moved to Fruges, while a dismounted party left for Séquières, prior to entrainment. Between 7th and 12th April the main group moved to Croix, Le Met, west of Athies, and back to Le Met, while the dismounted party went to Frévent.

On 17th April the main group moved to Aubrometz and then to Fressin where they remained until 12th May. During this time there was instruction for scouts, signallers, despatch riders, and Hotchkiss gunners, dismounted route marches, and some construction of troop strong points.

On 13th May they began a three day move via Matringhem and Les Presses to a camp at Calonne-sur-la-Lys where they stayed until late August. This time was used, in addition to looking after the horses, for general training, inspections and dismounted route marches. In June a detachment was sent to the 2nd Cavalry brigade as a Pioneer battalion and in early August a dismounted party went by bus to Elverdinghe for duty in the 5th Army area.

On 27th August the 18th Hussars marched to Matringhem and then Wierre-au-Bois for training until 25th September, returning to Wierre-au-Bois via Ecault Camp, on 2nd October. From 6th-12th October they moved between Holque, Houtkerque and Polincove before returning again to Wierre-au-Bois until 7th November. Between 10th and 14th November they moved via Fruges, Outrebois, Béhencourt and Cappy to Doingt before proceeding to a concentration area north-west of Fins.

When an army operation began on 20th November they were ordered to proceed to Havrincourt Wood, then south of Trescault, then to Ribecourt and Marcoing and up to Noyelles. On 21st November they were holding the south side of Noyelles and two bridges over the Escault when the enemy began to attack Noyelles with much sniping. The enemy was dislodged but returned in greater numbers; a counter-attack, however, drove the enemy back over the river. Relieved, the 18th Hussars proceeded via Ribecourt to Metz-en-Coutre, and Etinehem to Doingt. Casualties from the operation numbered 23 men and 50 horses.

At the beginning of December one night was spent digging a line east of Heudecourt, after which one Company was left to hold the line east of Gauche Wood while the rest marched back to Etinehem. On 23rd December they moved back to Doingt where they remained until 21st March 1918. During this time they erected new stables with a Hotchkiss rifle post to protect the horses from aeroplane attacks, the Dismounted Section improved defences at Le Verguier, a small party worked with a Tunnelling Company at Jeancourt and the Pioneer squadron spent some time at the front burying cable.

On 23rd March 1918 they moved to Le Mesnil and then via Athies to Devise. The dismounted party then dug a line of trenches at Prusle and held the same before the 18th Hussars marched to Morchain. Here C Squadron was sent to hold the crossing over the river. After Morchain was repeatedly shelled by the enemy they moved to Cappy and then to Cerisy, with a trench party being sent to the Carnoy Valley.

On 25th March they were ordered to move to Daours where one troop did picket duty on the Pont Noyelles road. On 26th the trench group from Carnoy Valley went into the trenches in Bernafay Wood and were heavily engaged with the enemy on 24th March and the night of the 24th/25th. On 26th the trench party was sent to Bray and Echelon B to Domart. Between 27th and 31st March the 18th Hussars were in the front of the line on the Sailly-le-Sec and Bray-Corbie road, in the front line trenches at Bois de Tailloux, in support trenches north of Villers Brettoneux, and in the front line at Warfusse.

Between 4th and 12th April the 18th Hussars moved from west of Amiens to Laires for training of scouts and signallers. Training and exercise continued at Reclinghem. Saulchoy and Sarton until 4th August. On 5th August the 18th Hussars began moving via Wargnies, St. Sauveur to the left forward concentration area east of Longeau and from there to Cachy and Marcelcave. B squadron was sent out to between Bayonvillers and Harbonnières to make contact with the 1st Cavalry Brigade. While the rest moved to Caix in reserve. C Squadron was sent to reconnoitre Vrely and Warvillers but was stopped by a very strongly held enemy line. A Squadron went up dismounted in support.

Withdrawn to Caix on 10th the 18th Hussars proceeded cross-country to Camon. On 11th August, while on the main road between Villers Brettoneux and Cachy they were bombed by hostile aircraft, causing 28 casualties. It is likely that Benjamin was wounded in this attack. He was taken to a hospital in Rouen where he died from his wounds, aged 23, on 19th August 1918.

Benjamin was buried in St. Sever Cemetery Extension, Rouen, Grave R. 3. F. 17. He is commemorated on the Carillon, Loughborough, on memorials in Market Harborough and Mountsorrel, and on the memorial in the Church of St. Peter and St. Paul, Great Bowden.

Benjamin's brother Samuel, who served with the Somerset Light Infantry, was killed in Israel in April 1918.

Private 270191 Bernard Sutton

 

15th Bn, Royal Scots.

Formerly 282169, 2/7th Highland Light Infantry.

Killed in Action 22nd October 1917, Aged 19.

Commemorated Tyne Cot Memorial, Zonnebeke, panel 11 - 14 & 162. 

 

Bernard Sutton was born in Loughborough in 1898, the only child of John Sutton and his wife Mary Elizabeth (née Mitchell) who were married at All Saints Church, Loughborough, on Christmas Day 1897. Bernard was baptised on 24th May 1903 at the Church of St. Peter and St. Paul, Hathern. In 1897 Bernard's father was a dyer, but by 1903 he was employed as a mechanic and in 1911 he was a bricklayer's labourer. Between 1901 and 1911 the Sutton family lived at Golden Square, Hathern, but Bernard's parents later moved to Wide Street, Hathern.

Bernard enlisted at Leicester on the 2nd October 1916. He was 18 years old and a woodworking machinist. On 30th October he was posted to the 2/7th (Blythswood) Battalion of the Highland Light Infantry as Private 282169 and joined the battalion at Danbury near Chelmsford for initial training. In January 1917 the battalion moved to Galway and Naas. On 28th February Bernard was confined to barracks for five days for being improperly dressed on parade. One month later, on 24th March, he was in trouble again for being in unlawful possession of a tunic and having damaged the same. On this occasion Bernard was given twenty-eight days Field Punishment No. 2 (placed in fetters and handcuffs but not attached to a fixed object) and had to make good the value of the damage to the tunic.

On 3rd June 1917 Bernard was sent via Folkestone to Boulogne to join No. 21 Infantry Base Depot at Etaples. On 5th June he was transferred to the 5/6th Battalion of the Royal Scots (Lothian) Regiment, and then posted to the 15th (Service) Battalion (1st Edinburgh) of the Royal Scots on 18th June and renumbered as Private 270191. He joined the 15th Royal Scots in the field at Houvin-Houvigneul on 21st June. Training continued there until the end of the month.

On 4th July the battalion marched at night to Ligny-St. Flochel and entrained for the south. Detraining at Peronne they marched to billets in Vraignes and underwent reorganisation. From 6th - 25th July training and bombing practice took place firstly at Vraignes and then at Vendelles. During this time, on 14th July, Bernard was confined to barracks for three days for having dirty equipment on guard mounting.

On 26th July from billets in Roisel the battalion moved into the trenches at Le Grand Priel and Villeret Posts. On 2nd August, when the battalion was in support, instructions were received that the brigade was to carry out an attack to obtain observation of the Hindenburg Line by taking the high ground around Cologne Farm. Nightly patrols were sent out around Cologne Farm and the barricade on Buisson Ridge but both were found to be unoccupied. The enemy attempted a raid on the Villeret Post but was repelled.

After a break in Bernes the battalion returned to the line near Hargicourt on the night of 23rd/24th August. On 25th and 26th August the battalion attacked in two waves and military objectives were achieved. A hostile counter-attack, however, caused 197 Ordinary Rank casualties and Bernard was wounded. With a severe gun-shot wound in his left thigh he was sent to No. 6 General Hospital at Rouen. On 7th September he was admitted to No. 2 Convalescent Depot at Rouen and by 15th September was discharged to the Base Depot at Etaples.

Bernard appears to have rejoined his battalion at Roisel on 24th September just before the battalion moved by bus to Peronne, then by train to Boisleux, and marched to Pommier. After training at Pommier the battalion entrained at Beaumetz for the north. By 8th October the men were in Elverdinghe for work on the forward roads. On 17th October the battalion began moving forward in preparation for an attack and on 20th took over the line from Gravel Farm to Turenne Crossing. The attack (part of the fighting for the Broenbeck valley and stream in the battle of Passchendaele) began in the early hours of 22nd October and Bernard, aged 19, was killed in action.

Bernard is commemorated on the Tyne Cot Memorial, Zonnebeke, Panels 11-14 and 162. He is also remembered on the Memorial Cross in Hathern, on the memorial in the Church of St. Peter and St. Paul, Hathern, and on the Carillon, Loughborough.




Hathern Memorial Cross

Private 22822 Thomas Sutton

 

6th Bn, Leicestershire Regiment.

Killed in Action 11th August 1916,  Aged 38.

Commemorated Arras  Memorial bay 5.                     

 

Thomas Sutton was born in Loughborough in 1878, the son of Joseph Sutton and Emma Sutton (née Lakin) who were married in Loughborough in 1871. Thomas's father was a framework knitter and his mother a cotton hosiery seamer. Thomas had three younger brothers Ernest, Arthur and Walter, and one younger sister Sarah Ellen; six other children had been born to Thomas's parents but all had died young. In 1881 the family lived at 6 Buckhorn Square, Loughborough, but by 1901 had moved to 5 Buckhorn Square and Thomas, aged 22, was a general labourer. In 1911 Thomas, now a labourer at Messrs. H. Coltman and Sons Boiler Works in Meadow Lane, was still living at home with his parents at 5 Buckhorn Square. His two nephews Charles and Frederick Spencer, the sons of Sarah Ellen, were also in the household. By 1915 Thomas's parents and Thomas had moved back to 6 Buckhorn Square. The family belonged to the Primitive Methodist Church.

Thomas enlisted at Loughborough on 6th November 1915, giving his occupation as 'Striker'. He joined the 10th (2nd Reserve) Battalion of the Leicestershire Regiment as Private 22822. He was sent to Rugeley Camp, Cannock Chase, Staffordshire for training and remained there until 4th July 1916 when he was sent to France. From Etaples he was posted to the 6th Battalion of the Leicestershire Regiment in the field on 13th July and sent to attend the 9th Battalion of the Essex Regiment who were training in Bois de Mornimont, not far from Varennes. Training continued until 20th July when the 9th Essex Battalion moved to Bertrancourt and then Mailly Maillet. Further training ensued at Bus-lès-Artois and Varennes until 30th July when the battalion moved to Bouzincourt. On 7th August the battalion moved into the Bouzincourt-Albert line as Brigade Reserve and on 9th August there were working and carrying parties to the front line. On 10th August the battalion relieved the 5th Royal Berkshires in the front line itself north-east of Ovillers and for the next two days suffered bombardment by the enemy.

Thomas went missing on 11th August and was later regarded for official purposes as having died, aged 38. He is commemorated on the Arras Memorial, Bay 5.

Private 39476 William Sutton

 

6th Bn, Leicestershire Regiment.

Died of Wounds 25th August 1918,  Aged 31.

Buried Bagneux British Cemetery, VI. C. 34. 

 

William Sutton (known as Willie to his family and friends) was born in Loughborough in the summer of 1887 and baptised at All Saints Church, Loughborough, on 4th July 1888. He was the son of James Sutton and his wife Harriet (née Goodwin) who were married at All Saints Church on 16th November 1879. William's father was a labourer in the Corporation Gas Works in 1879 but by 1901 he was working as a water main layer. In 1911 he was a service and main layer for the Gas Works.

Willie had one brother Walter and five sisters Clara, Edith, Agnes, Ethel and Kate. Another sister Harriet died, aged one, in 1890. In 1891 the Sutton family lived at 11 Chapman Street, Loughborough, and later moved to 48 Sparrow Hill and then to 8 Shakespeare Street. When he was 13 Willie became an errand boy and by the time he was 23 he was a hosiery hand for Handford and Miller Co. Ltd, of Derby Road, Loughborough. One year later he had become a factory clerk. On 27th July 1912 Willie was married to Mary Emily Walton at Emmanuel Church, Loughborough, and the couple set up home at 36 Leopold Street. Between 1912 and 1916 Willie was appointed manager of Hanford and Miller's branch in Whitwick.

Willie's service papers have not survived but he seems to have enlisted sometime in 1916. He joined the 6th (Service) Battalion of the Leicestershire Regiment as Private 39476 and was probably sent to France in early 1917.

The 6th Battalion of the Leicesters received a draft of reinforcements on 3rd February 1917 and it is possible that Willie as in this draft. At the time the battalion was at Houtkerque, undergoing training. Alternatively he may have been among drafts of reinforcements sent in November 1917, while the battalion was at Coupigny and then in training at Monchy Breton.

After Houtkerque in Febraury 1917 trench tours at Noyelles and Vermelles followed until the beginning of April when the battalion transferred to Hamelincourt. From 11th to 13th April the battalion was in action at the start of the Arras Offensive and on 3rd May in an attack on Fontaine-lès-Croisilles.

On the following day the battalion moved to the support posts on the Sunken Road, staying there until 8th May when they moved to the forward posts. Relieved on 11th May they marched to the railway bank and on 12th May to billets in Berles-au-Bois. The remainder of May was spent resting and training in musketry and tactical schemes. From 1st-7th June two companies of the battalion worked on improving C Camp at Moyenville whilst the other two companies worked for the Royal Engineers digging communication trenches in Sunken Road. Following this the battalion returned to the trenches at Croisilles, taking the front line from 11th-19th June. Here they were heavily shelled. From C Camp at Moyenville on 20th June the battalion moved to Hendecourt-les-Ransart for rest, training and field firing.

Back in Divisional Reserve at Moyenville on 1st July the battalion moved back into the front line and support trenches at Croisilles from 8th July until 1st August. From 1st-9th August there was training at Moyenville as well as working parties at St. Leger prior to another trench tour at Croisilles until 17th. August concluded with training at Hamelincourt and Manin.

In the first two weeks of September there was training, sports and a military gymkhana at Manin. On 16th September the battalion entrained at Savy for Caestre and continued training there and at Fontaine Houck until 25th September. On 26th they moved by bus to a camp on the road between La Clytte and Dickebusch and immediately marched to Scottish Wood and Bedford House. The battalion moved up to the line on the Ypres-Menin Road near Hooge on 30th September.

On October 1st they moved into reserve in Polygon Wood before being relieved for two days. On 4th October the battalion moved to Zillebeke Lake and consolidated in front of Polygon Wood. On the following day they went into the front line and on 7th October suffered a heavy enemy barrage. After being relieved they marched via Scottish Wood to Ouderdom and entrained on 9th October for Ebblinghem. Two days later they were back at Scottish Wood Camp working for the 9th Tramway Company of the Royal Engineers, and also road building and forming carrying parties. On 23rd October they moved to another camp which was a sea of mud and work became impossible when the camp flooded. On 28th October they transferred to the Railway Embankment, Zillebeke, before moving into support with two companies placed at Polygon Wood.

From 31st October until 4th November the battalion was in the front line at Reutel and heavily shelled by the enemy. From 5th-16th November they remained in the Zillebeke area in the front line or in reserve. On 17th the battalion began a four-day march, via Reninghelst and Neuf Berquin, to Coupigny. After Coupigny was shelled the battalion marched to Monchy-Breton for training.

On 30th November the battalion received sudden orders to march to Savy and entrain for Tincourt. From there they marched via Buire to Villers-Faucon and on 4th December relieved the 7th Leicesters in the front line at Epehy. Four days later the battalion went into reserve at the railway embankment. Three more trench tours took up the remainder of December with breaks at Villers-Faucon and Saulcourt. In the front line it was bitterly cold, with drifting snow up to four feet in the trenches. The battalion finally enjoyed Christmas dinner on 3rd January 1918.

Back in Divisional Reserve on 4th January the battalion provided working parties for tunnelling and construction of dugouts until 15th January when they moved to a camp at Lieramont. Following another trench tour at Epehy where, amid shelling, extensive patrolling was carried out the battalion completed night work on the village defences.

After two more trench tours the battalion proceeded by march and light railway to Haut Allaines on 7th February. Here, as well as resting and cleaning up the battalion was reorganised and took part in range firing practice and other training. They also attended a concert by the Soarers. After moving to Don Camp, Moislains, to join their Brigade the men were inspected by Sir Douglas Haig. Further training followed until 18th February when the battalion returned to camp at Lieramont to work on the Green Line at Rue du Quinceonce and then on the Yellow Line at Epehy.

From 1st to 7th March every available man was employed constructing posts in Epehy and on the Yellow and Red Lines as well as improving village defences under the Royal Engineers. On 16th March a very successful raid was made on the enemy lines. From 17th-20th March the battalion was in support before being ordered to take up battle positions.

On 21st March the Germans opened their Spring Offensive and broke through part of the British line. The British counter-attacked with tanks. On 22nd March the enemy began an intense bombardment and their snipers began to encroach to the rear of part of the British line. The battalion was forced to fight a rear-guard action and then withdraw to Longavesnes where they were heavily shelled. The withdrawal continued to Aizecourt-le-Haut and then to high ground between Haut-Allaines and Clery, Hardecourt and Bray. On 25th orders came through to hold the Bray-Méaulte road but this proved untenable and enforced a further withdrawal to Morlancourt, Heilly and Fréchencourt. The operations in late March cost the battalion 463 casualties.

On 1st April the battalion entrained at St. Roche, Amiens, for Hopoutre and were taken by lorry to Wakefield Camp, Locre. Over the following two days they moved to Alberta Camp, Westoutre, and then to Ramilles Camp, Kemmel where training took place until 7th April. On 8th April the battalion marched to De Zon Camp, Dickebusch, and from there on 9th, went into the line in the Reutel sector. Relieved on 14th the battalion moved back to Zillebeke Lake to work on a new line with forward posts. The rest of April was spent putting up a defence against any attempted encroachment on this line by the enemy.

On 1st and 2nd May the battalion marched via to Buysscheure. On 4th May they entrained at Wizernes for a siding near Lhery and marched to camp east of Lagery for a week's training. On 15th May, having moved via Bouvancourt to Hermonville, the battalion went into the line between Cauroy and Comily. Five days in reserve at Chalons le Vergeur followed. On 27th May the battalion took part in the 3rd Battle of the Aisne during which the Germans succeeded in pushing the Allies across the Aisne and down as far as the Marne at Chateau Thierry, capturing the towns of Soissons and Fère-en-Tardenois as they did so. This cost the battalion 379 casualties.

After the battle the battalion moved to Etréchy and on 3rd June marched to Courjeonnet. Between 9th and 14th June training took place at Moeurs, after which the battalion moved by lorry, train and bus to Rambures, Somme. The rest of June was spent at Bazinval, in training.

During July the battalion spent some time at Arqéves for training in musketry and tactical schemes and the rest of the month in the front and support lines at Acheux. The first three weeks of August were taken up with a lengthy trench tour west of Hamel and working parties at Englebelmer.

On 21st August the battalion moved to the assembly positions west of Hamel and went into the advance, but were compelled to withdraw because of the opposition. Subsequent attacks on the following days were more successful and they followed through Le Sars to Eaucourt l'Abbé despite a hostile counter-attack. Willie, however, was severely wounded by a gunshot wound to the abdomen on 25th August 1918 and died in the 3rd Casualty Clearing Station, aged 31, on the same day. He was buried in Bagneux British Cemetery, Grave VI. C. 34.

Willie is commemorated on the memorial in the former St. Peter's Church building, Loughborough, and on the Carillon. The flag at Hanford and Miller Co, Ltd., where he had worked since he was a young lad, was flown at half-mast.

Lance Corporal 14053 Archibald David Swann

 

8th Bn, Leicestershire Regiment.

Killed in Action 15th July 1916,  Aged 22.

Commemorated Thiepval Memorial, 2c & 3a.

(his brother John Henry Potter Swann also fell see below)

Archibald David Swann (known as 'Archie') was born in Loughborough in 1894, the son of John Henry Potter Swann and Clara Swann (née Squires) who were married in Loughborough in 1889. John Henry Potter Swann was a framework knitter (cotton) in 1891 but he subsequently became a plasterer, while Clara Swann was a hosiery machinist.

In 1891 Archie's parents were living at 10 Albert Street, Loughborough, with a son Ernest, aged one, who died a few months later. In 1901 Archie was living with his grandmother Mary Ann Swann at 4 Albert Place while his mother Clara was with Archie's younger brother John Henry Potter Swann, aged four, and Archie's other grandmother Amy Squires at 10 Burder Street. Archie attended Church Gate School. By 1903 Archie's mother had moved to 9 Bridle Road, New Bilton, Rugby, Warwickshire, and was working as a corset machinist. She had a daughter Clarissa Swann in 1903 in Rugby, but did not keep her. Clarissa was taken in by Elizabeth Hardaker of 11 Kimberley Road, Rugby, and later was officially known as Clarice Hardaker. Archie's father also appears to have been in the Rugby area between 1900 and 1912 as in January 1912 he was indicted for obtaining by false pretences from Tom Reynolds of Rugby on October 13th 1900, the sum of £20.

In 1911 both Archie and his brother John were with their grandmother Mary Swann at 16 Albert Street and Archie was a machinist for a khaki equipment manufacturer. By 1915 Archie's parents appear to have been together at 28 Ashby Road, Loughborough.

Archie was working at the Empress Works when he enlisted on 5th September 1914. He joined the 8th (Service) Battalion, Leicestershire Regiment as Private 14053. He was sent firstly to Aldershot for training. He moved to Shorncliffe in Kent at the end of February 1915. In April 1915 Archie's battalion became part of the newly established 37th Division of Kitchener's 2nd New Army and the Division began to concentrate on Salisbury Plain. Archie was billeted at Perham Down. On 25th June the units were inspected by King George V at Sidbury Hill. On 22nd July the Division began to cross the English Channel and Archie travelled to France on 29th July 1915. Initially the 37th Division concentrated near Tilques. On 30th August Archie was appointed an unpaid Lance Corporal, a rank confirmed, with pay, on 30th November 1915.

From Tilques the 8th Battalion then moved via Watten, Houlie, St. Omer, Eecke and Dranoutre to Wulverghem and Berles-au-Bois, a short distance from the front line. In the months that followed the 8th Battalion did tours in the trenches, alternating with the 6th Leicesters who relieved them. They were Involved in operations in Bailleul, Le Bizet, Armentières, Mondicourt, Beauval and Berles-au-Bois. In April 1916 the 8th Leicesters moved to the Doullens area for six weeks for cleaning up, resting and training. In mid-May they returned once more to the trenches in the Bienvillers-Bailleulmont sector, but nearer Gommecourt. In June there was a series of nightly excursions into No-Man's Land with patrols attempting to gather information on the enemy's dispositions. On other occasions there were working parties out repairing the British barbed wire entanglements. The situation became increasingly hazardous as the month wore on when the Germans began to use a new and more accurate type of trench mortar.

The 8th Battalion did not participate in the first days of the Somme Offensive but was held in reserve. On 6th July they left billets at Humbercamps and marched to Talmas, continuing on the following day to billets in Soues. On 10th July the battalion marched to Ailly-sur-Somme, entrained for Méricourt and travelled from there by lorry to bivouacs in Méaulte. Between 10th and 13th July the battalion was in the trenches near Fricourt and subjected to fairly continuous enemy fire. On 14th and 15th July the battalion advanced on Bazentin Le Petit Wood. Archie was killed in action on 15th July 1916, aged 22. He is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial, Somme, France, panels 2C and 3A.

Archie's grandmother Mary Ann Swann died about the same time as Archie. Archie's brother John, who was with the 1st Battalion, Cameronians (Scottish Rifles) was recorded as missing in action in 1914 and it was eventually accepted that he died on 26th October 1914. One way or another Archie's parents had lost all their children. 
 

Private 10838 John Henry Potter Swann

 

1st Bn, Cameronians (Scottish Rifles).

Killed in Action 26th October 1914, Aged 18.

Commemorated Ploegsteert Memorial, Hainaut, Panel 5.

(his brother Archibald David Swann also fell see above)

John Henry Potter Swann was born in Loughborough in 1896, the son of John Henry Potter Swann (Senior) and Clara Swann (née Squires) who were married in Loughborough in 1889. John Henry Potter Swann Senior was a framework knitter (cotton) in 1891 but he subsequently became a plasterer, while Clara Swann was a hosiery machinist.

In 1891 John Junior's parents were living at 10 Albert Street, Loughborough, with a son Ernest, aged one, who died a few months later. In 1901 John Junior was living with his mother and grandmother Amy Squires at 10 Burder Street while John Junior's older brother Archibald David (known as 'Archie') was with his other grandmother Mary Ann Swann at 4 Albert Place.

By 1903 John's mother had moved to 9 Bridle Road, New Bilton, Rugby, Warwickshire, and was working as a corset machinist. She had a daughter Clarissa Swann in 1903 in Rugby, but did not keep her. Clarissa was taken in by Elizabeth Hardaker of 11 Kimberley Road, Rugby, and later was officially known as Clarice Hardaker. Archie's father also appears to have been in the Rugby area between 1900 and 1912 as in January 1912 he was indicted for obtaining by false pretences from Tom Reynolds of Rugby on October 13th 1900, the sum of £20.

In 1911 both John and his brother Archie were with their grandmother Mary Swann at 16 Albert Street and John aged fourteen, was a watch turner for a hosiery manufacturer. By 1915 John's parents appear to have been together at 28 Ashby Road, Loughborough.

In the early autumn of 1912 John, aged sixteen, enlisted in Manchester and joined the 1st Battalion of the Cameronians (Scottish Rifles) as Private 10838. In August 1914 the battalion was in Glasgow and left by train for Southampton on 13th August. The battalion sailed on the SS Caledonia for Le Havre as Lines of Communication troops on 14th August. On 17th August they travelled by train to Busigny and marched to billets in Maretz. On 21st - 22nd August 1914 they proceeded to Valenciennes and came under the orders of the 19th Infantry Brigade, which was not allocated to an Army Division but was an independent command at this time.

On 23rd August, having taken up an outpost line near Vicq the battalion received orders to move to the Condé-Mons Canal and 'hold the position at all costs' against the advancing German 1st Army. In spite of valiant efforts this proved impossible and the battalion was ordered to retire at once on the following day and they moved off amid heavy firing. From this point until the 5th September they were part of the Retreat from Mons. It was an exhausting march often by night as well as in the day from Jenlain through Le Cateau, Montigny, Bertry, Mametz, St. Quentin, Pontoise, Dammartin-en-Goële, and Lagny-sur-Marne to Grisy-Suisnes in the area of the Marne. Rations were scarce particularly for the horses which became very thin and at the end of it 221 men were reported missing.

A counter-offensive by the Allies, the First Battle of the Marne, took place from 5th-12th September, during which the battalion was shelled twice by the enemy. The enemy was, however, forced to retire towards the River Aisne, whereupon the battalion crossed the Marne at La Ferté and advanced to Buzancy.

The First Battle of the Aisne followed from 13th - 28th September and the battalion, now at Venizel, was again heavily shelled. From 20th September to October 5th the battalion was in billets at Septmonts cleaning up and entrenching, after which they marched via St. Rémy, Vez, Béthisy-Saint-Pierre and Pont-Saint-Maxence to Estrées Saint Denis and entrained for St. Omer. From there they moved to Renescure and on 13th October went into Corps Reserve which was attacked holding the line three miles east of Strazeele. On 14th October they were ordered to attack Bailleul but found it empty. After three days at Steenwerck and Vlamertinghe they were ordered to move by motor-bus to Laventie and then Fromelles.

On 22nd October the battalion advanced from the heavily-shelled trenches at La Boutillerie, Fromelles, only to be attacked by German machine guns as they got close to the enemy. The shelling continued for several days and on 26th October John went missing. It was eventually concluded that he was killed in action.

John is remembered on the Ploegsteert Memorial, Hainaut, Panel 5.

John's brother Archie, who was with the 8th Battalion, Leicestershire Regiment was killed action in July 1916. One way or another John's parents had lost all their children.

Private 22254 James Henry Tailby

 

Royal Army Medical Corps.

Died at King George Hospital, London, 26th January 1916, Aged 45.

Buried Sheffield (City Road) Cemetery, K. 6. 6772.

James Henry Tailby was born in 1870 in Loughborough, the oldest child of William Tailby, a carpenter and joiner who originally came from Birmingham, and his wife Emma (née Whitehead) who came from Saffron Walden in Essex. James' parents were married in Loughborough in 1868. In 1881 the Tailby family lived at 10 Hume Street, Loughborough but by 1891 had moved to 19 Ward's End and James had now joined his father in the joinery business. James had three brothers William, Albert, John, and four sisters Mary, Florence, Nellie and Miriam.

James married Charlotte Alice Billson in Daventry in 1897 and the couple initially set up home at 132 Herrick Road, Loughborough. By 1901 they had two daughters Ida and Edna and James was now earning his living as a funeral furnisher. In 1903 the family moved to 17 Hornthorpe Road, Eckington, Sheffield, and by 1911 James and Alice had four more children William, Harry, Percy and Archie. James had secured work as a house joiner in a joinery works. They subsequently moved to 83 Scarsdale Road, Woodseats, Sheffield.

James enlisted with the Royal Army Medical Corps in1914 and served as Private 22254 with the 35th Company. He died at King George (Military) Hospital, Stamford Street, Waterloo, London, on 26th January 1916, aged 45, and is buried in Sheffield City Road Cemetery, Grave K.6.6772.

Pioneer 288119 Wilfred Ernest Talton

 

7th Indian Div. Signal Coy. Royal Engineers.

Died of Malaria 22nd October 1918,  Aged 43.

Buried Cairo War Memorial Cemetery Egypt, O. 35.

 

Wilfred was the Son of William Franks Taiton and Sarah Ann Talton, of Loughborough; husband of Annie Talton, of 59, Judge's St., Loughborough, Had 2 Children Winnie & Sonnie.
need photo

Private 29454 Albert Henry Taylor

 

1/4th Bn, East Yorkshire Regiment.

Died a Prisoner 18th September 1918, Aged 39.

Buried Glageon Communal Cemetery Extension I. K. 6.

(his Brother Alfred Hall Taylor also fell see below) 

Albert Henry Taylor was born in Loughborough in late 1878. He was the eldest son of Henry Taylor and his wife Sarah Jane (née Beeby) who were married on 23rd September 1877 at Emmanuel Church, Loughborough. Albert's father was a dyer's foreman. Albert had two brothers Alfred and Wilfred and a sister Elizabeth. Another sister Millis had died in infancy. He also had an adopted sister Harriet Brewin, who subsequently took the surname of Taylor. The Taylor family lived in Leopold Street in Loughborough, firstly at No. 87, then at No. 86, and finally, after Albert's father died in 1910, at No. 55.

After he left school Albert became a hosiery trimmer. From 1901 to 1911 he was still living at home. By the time he enlisted at Nottingham on 22nd March 1916, however, he was living at 16 Jennison Street, Bulwell, Nottinghamshire. According to his service papers he was called up as a Reservist, although when he attested he did not declare any previous military service.

On 27th March 1916 Albert was posted as Private 39064 to the 13th Battalion of the Sherwood Foresters (Notts & Derby Regiment). He was then sent to Brocton Camp, Staffordshire, for training. On 17th April 1916 he was transferred to the newly-formed 22nd (Labour) Battalion of the Prince of Wales's Own (West Yorkshire Regiment) as Private 3053. He was sent firstly to Millington, Cheshire, and then to France on 11th May 1916.

In October 1916 the 22nd Battalion was attached to the 5th Army and took part in the Battle of the Ancre. From 9th April -16th May 1917 it was involved in the Battle of Arras before being sent to the Ypres Salient.

On 7th March 1917 Arthur was in the 21st Field Ambulance with a problem in his wrist. He returned to duty ten days later. On 14th May 1917 he was transferred to the 19th Labour Company (the successor to the West Yorkshire 22nd Battalion) in the Labour Corps as Private 11253.On 17th June he was sent to No. 50 Casualty Clearing Station at Hazebrouck with scabies and did not return to duty until 31st July.

On 30th September 1917 Arthur was transferred to the 1/4th Battalion of the East Yorkshire Regiment. Now Private 29454 he joined his new battalion in Reserve at Neuville-Vitasse, south-east of Arras, on 4th October. On 5th they marched to a camp on the Northumberland lines and on the 6th to Achiet-le-Petit for eight days training. On 16th the battalion entrained at Miraumont for Cassel and marched to Broxeele for a further three days training. Between 20th and 24th October the battalion moved via Anneke and Proven, to Sarawak Camp near Crombeke and on 25th went into the front line at Caribou Farm. On 30th, after two days in Reserve at Marsuin Farm, the battalion returned to the front line at Egypt House. On 31st an advance was aborted owing to severe enemy machine gun fire.

From 6th-16th November the battalion was based at Parroy farm and employed on working parties. On 17th November they entrained at Vlamertinghe for Lumbres and marched to the Tournehem area for training there and at Bayeninghem until 9th December.

Between 10th and 11th December the battalion entrained at Watten for Brandhoek and moved to Potijze Farm Camp near Ypres. They then moved into the line in the Zonnebeke area. After the trench tour the battalion moved by motor convoy into Reserve at St. Lawrence Camp, Brandhoek. On 20th December the battalion moved by bus to Potijze and then into internal support at Seine. On the following day they moved to the Fish Market, Ypres, for working parties. Christmas was spent in the support line in the Hambourg area, after which they returned to St. Lawrence Camp, Brandhoek.

In January 1918 the battalion was mainly in training at Winnizeele and Leulinghem before returning to Brandhoek and Ypres for a trench tour at Seine Corner. On 7th February they went into reserve at St. Lawrence Camp before two trench tours in the Hambourg area and a period in reserve at Sunderland Camp, Ypres.

Between 22nd February and 8th March the battalion was in training at Quelmes. On 9th March they moved by rail from Wizerbes to Boves and marched to Gentelles. From 11th-20th March training took place at Guillaucourt.

On 21st March, the opening day of the German Spring Offensive, the battalion travelled by rail to Brie, marched to Bernes and took up a position on the line. On 23rd, after being almost surrounded by the enemy they were ordered to retreat across the bridge at Brie and marched to Bellay-en-Santerre. On 25th the battalion took up a position north-east of Licourt but after the enemy broke through, the battalion was ordered to withdraw to a line of trenches at Ablaincourt and then to the Rosières-Vrely road. The withdrawal was done under heavy enemy machine gun fire, and on 28th the battalion was again forced back to Caix, Cayeux and then Louvrechy. On 29th, having being ordered to a position south of Demun they were again forced out to a position south-east of Thennes. Attempts to move forward failed and the battalion withdrew to Domart.

At the beginning of April the battalion withdrew to Saleux, entrained for Rue and marched to Estrées le Crecy. From there they moved via Béthune, Essars and Doulieu to take up a defensive position at Rue du Trou Bayard, north-west of the River Lys, on 9th April. Fighting here lasted for five days with the enemy making repeated attempts to cross the river. After a violent enemy bombardment on 13th April the battalion withdrew to Le Parc and then moved to Fôret de Nieppe.

On 16th April the battalion was sent to Wittes-Aires and placed in huts at La Lac for training until 25th April. On 26th April the battalion entrained at Calonne-Ricquart for Courville and marched to Mont-sur-Courville. Here training continued until 4th May. From 6th -21st May the battalion was in the front and support lines at Craonne.

On 27th May the 3rd Battle of the Aisne began. During the battle Albert was taken prisoner by the Germans and put in a Prisoner of War Camp at Trélon.

One of Albert's comrades told his mother that: "We were kept working behind the German lines. Although he kept reporting sick the Germans would not let him go to hospital. On September 13th we were sent to Trelon hospital, but all the wards were full and we had to sleep on some wet wood shavings on a stone floor. He asked for a piece of bread, and said, 'I wish you would let me write home'. I must have dozed off. When I woke up he was dead, and the piece of bread and jam was still in his hand. He died very peacefully, and I don't think he was in pain". Albert died, aged 29, on 18th September 1918. He was buried in Glageon Communal Cemetery Extension, Grave I. K. 6.

Albert's brother Alfred, who served with the 1st King's Dragoon Guards, was killed in 1914.

Private 5305 Alfred Hall Taylor

 

1st (King's) Dragoon Guards.

Killed in Action 30th October 1914,  Aged 30.

Commemorated Ypres (Menin Gate) panel 3.

(his Brother Albert Taylor also fell see above) 

Alfred Hall Taylor was the first of two sons of Henry and Sarah Jane Taylor of 55 Leopold Street, Loughborough, to be lost in the war, his brother Albert dying while a prisoner of war in 1918. By 1919 Henry and Sarah Taylor had only one son and one daughter left, Wilfred and Elizabeth. Alfred also left a widow, Amelia whom he had married early in 1914 at Barrow on Soar.

Alfred had joined 3rd Leicesters on 14th October 1901, having previously been a trimmer in the Loughborough dye works. After 49 days drill he was transferred to the 1st (King's) Dragoon Guards. He had apparently left the army by 1911 as he was a porter on the railway in Coventry that year, but is likely to have been a reservist and recalled in 1914.

Official records consistently list him as Private 5305 in the 1st (King's) Dragoon Guards, but it would seem that at the time he died he had been attached to a different regiment; the 1st (King's) Dragoon Guards did not arrive in France from Lucknow, India until 7th November 1914. It is possible that Alfred was with the 1st Royal Dragoons, who arrived in Belgium on 8th October 1914 or the 2nd Dragoon Guards (Queen's Bays) who went to France in August 1914.

Second Lieutenant Arnold Bradley Taylor

 

9th Bn, Leicestershire Regiment.

Killed in Action 12th July 1916,  Aged 22.

Commemorated Thiepval Memorial, 2c & 3a.

(2 Brothers Gerard & John Taylor also fell see below)  



Arnold Bradley Taylor was born in Loughborough on 23rd January 1894, the fourth son of John William and Annie Mary Taylor (née Bardsley) of the Bell Foundry, Loughborough. Arnold's parents were married in Loughborough in 1884 and lived at 63 Freehold Street, Loughborough. Arnold had three brothers John, Gerard and Pryce, and three sisters Josephine, Phyllis and Gwendoline. Arnold was educated at Shaftsbury Grammar School and Denstone College, and at the latter was for two years in the OTC. He was a keen hockey player and was a member of the Loughborough club, playing for Leicestershire in the last pre-war match against Nottinghamshire. After Arnold's mother died in 1904 his father was married again in 1909/10 to Edith Lea from Manchester. Arnold had two step-siblings by his father's second wife, Margaret and Paul. In 1911, at the age of 17 Arnold was working as a bellfounder with his father and brother Pryce.

On 2nd October 1914 Arnold and his brother Pryce were reported to be in the ranks of the 9th Royal Fusiliers on Epsom Downs, Arnold being listed as Private 3286. In January 1915 Arnold received his commission from the 4th Public Schools Battalion (Royal Fusiliers) into the Leicestershire Regiment. In November 1915 he seems to have been with the 10th Battalion of the Leicesters at Rugeley Camp in Cannock Chase as according to newspaper reports 'Lieutenant Arnold Bradley Taylor, 10th Leicestershire Regiment' was fined 15 shillings for riding a motor-cycle without a light at 11.00pm in Walsall Road, Churchbridge, Staffordshire, on 2nd December 1915. The precise point at which Arnold was drafted to the 9th (Service) Battalion of the Leicestershire Regiment and the date on which he entered France are unknown as his service record has not survived. What is certain is that he was with 9th Leicesters at the opening of the Somme Offensive.

On 1st July 1916 the 9th Leicesters moved into position at Souastre in readiness to reinforce the troops attacking at Gommecourt. No orders came, however, and the men marched back to Humbercamps. Training continued on the 4th and 5th July. On 6th and 7th July they marched via Talmas to Crouy and on 8th and 9th July they rested and were addressed by the Divisional Commander on the forthcoming battle. On 10th July they moved to Ailly-sur-Somme and then entrained for Méricourt before going by bus to bivouacs in Méaulte north-east of Amiens. They then took over as Quadrangle Trench and Quadrangle support. On 11th there was heavy shelling but no infantry attack. On 12th July when Arnold's battalion was holding on to captured German trenches near Contalmaison and under constant bombardment Major A.W.L. Trotter and 2nd Lieutenant Arnold Bradley Taylor, aged 22, were killed by shellfire.

In a letter to Arnold's father, 2nd Lieut. William Batchelor, a fellow officer, wrote 'Dear Sir, A few lines to let you know how very deeply I sympathise with you in the loss of your son…It happened about midday. He had just come back to the trench after helping to bring the wounded in when a heavy shell burst nearby and a piece of it went through his body. He only lived a few minutes…I am confident he did not linger long. I am writing this because he was the best chum I had out here and just before going into action we exchanged addresses in case anything happened to either of us. He was the most conscientious subaltern in the company'.

Arnold's brother John William Taylor serving with the Canadian Infantry was killed in September 1916 and his brother Gerard Bardsley Taylor serving with 11th Leicesters was killed in 1918. His brother Pryce Taylor who served with the Royal Fusiliers survived the war but died in 1927. Their sister Josephine served with the Red Cross in France during the war. Their father died in 1919.

Arnold is remembered on the Thiepval Memorial Panels 2C and 3A, on the memorial at All Saints Church, Loughborough, and on the Roll of Honour of the Central Council of Church Bell Ringers as well as on the Carillon. The largest bell in the Carillon itself was given by the Taylor family in memory of the three Taylor brothers lost in the war. A bell was also cast to commemorate all three brothers for the church the Taylor family attended, Holy Trinity Church, Trinity Street, Loughborough. When the church closed in 1998 the bell was given to Palayamcottai Cathedral, Tamil Nadu, India. Taylor's Bellfoundry also cast a bell in Arnold's memory which is now with the Royal Anglian Regiment's base in Leicester.
 
 
 
Bell cast by John Taylor's Foundry to commemorate Arnold's death.
The bell was presented to the Leicestershire Regiment in July 1917. In 1923 it was put on display in Glen Parva Barracks in Wigston, the depot of the Leicestershire Regiment and has now been presented to C Company 3 Royal Anglian Regiment's base in Leicester.
 

C.S.M. 6368 George William Marchant Taylor

 

8th Bn, Royal Scots Fusiliers.

Killed in Action Balkans 10th June 1917, Aged 34 or 35..

Buried Karasouli Military Cemetery, Greece, B. 314.

 

George William Marchant Taylor was born in 1882 in Loughborough, the son of George Taylor and Mary Emma (née Marchant). He was baptised on 21st March 1886 at St.Thomas' Church, Derby. George William's parents were married in Loughborough in 1880 and his father was a hosiery warehouseman. George William had one brother Hubert.

In 1891 George William was living with his parents and brother at the home of his widowed grandfather William Marchant at 45 Cobden Street, Loughborough. By 1901 he was no longer at home. He had started out as a teacher in the Cobden Street School but left to enlist in the Army at Coventry sometime between January 1899 and January 1900. He joined the 1st Battalion of the Scottish Rifles and in 1902 was sent to Allahabad, India. While he was there at the age of 20 he gained his First Class Certificate. Between December 1903 and September 1904 he took part in the British Expedition to Tibet, a temporary invasion by British Indian forces under the auspices of the Tibet Frontier Commission to resolve the dispute over the border between Tibet and Sikkim. In the Tibet Expedition he had several narrow escapes.

By 1907 he was back in Loughborough to marry Martha Wilhelmina Hough, known as 'Patty', a draper's daughter from Churchgate. Patty went with George when he returned to India with the military and their first daughter Mary was born in Bareilly, Bengal, in 1908, the same year that George was promoted to Sergeant. Their second daughter Florence was born in Rangoon in 1910. George was then posted to Pretoria, South Africa, and George and Patty's third daughter Maud was born there in 1912. Their fourth daughter Elizabeth was born in Alverstoke, Hampshire, in 1914. After this George's wife returned with the children to live in Loughborough, at 41 Cumberland Road. 

When war broke out in August 1914 the 1st Battalion was in Gosport as part of the 9th Brigade, 3rd Division. The battalion proceeded to France with the British Expeditionary Force, landing at Le Havre on 14th August 1914. They saw action in the Battle of Mons where George was one of the 15 to return out of 300, his top coat riddled by bullets but not a scratch on himself. He saw further action at Solesmes, the Battle of Le Cateau, the Battle of the Marne, the Battle of the Aisne, at La Bassée, Messines and the First Battle of Ypres. He returned home at Christmas 1914 with frozen feet. He had been in the trenches for three weeks without having his boots off and the water had turned to ice in them.

Back in France George's battalion took part in the Winter Operations of 1914-15, and in the first attack on Bellewaarde on 16th June 1915. At Bellewaarde, a week after his father died, George was badly injured and picked up for dead. He had a bullet through his stomach without touching a vital spot, one in his knee, which came out at the ankle, one broke the bone of the middle finger on his right hand, which remained stiff, and another through the palm of his hand. Shrapnel also took away a large part of his thigh. He was in hospital at Malling in Kent for ten weeks, where the doctor told him after all that, he thought he was destined to die in his bed.

After George recovered he went to Seaford in Sussex in December 1915, to drill some soldiers who came from overseas. It seems likely that it was at this point he was transferred to the 8th (Service) Battalion of the Royal Scots Fusiliers and promoted to Company Sergeant Major 6368 but the timing of his transfer and promotion cannot be confirmed as his service papers have not survived,

The weather in Seaford, however, was to cold the Army decided to take the overseas group to Egypt. George volunteered to go with them in preference to returning to France, two other officers whom he had been with before also going with the group. From Egypt George was sent to Salonika in April 1916, where on 5th May he witnessed the Zeppelin brought down in the Vardar Marshes near Salonika and obtained a piece from it to bring home.

The Salonika Force, having constructed a defensive line arount the city itself, dug-in from late spring until the summer of 1916, by which time the international force had been reinforced and joined by Serbian, Russian and Italian units. The Bulgarian attempt at invasion of Greece in July was repulsed near Lake Doiran. At the beginning of October 1916, the British in co-operation with her allies on other parts of the front, began operations on the River Struma towards Serres. The campaign was successful with the capture of the Rupell Pass and advances to within a few miles of Serres. At the end of the year George was in hospital for eight weeks with fever, but said he felt quite fit again and was soon out in the wilds again, miles away from everywhere.

During 1917 there was comparatively little activity on the British part of the front in Macedonia, due in part to complex political changes in Greece throughout the year. The main fighting took place around Lake Doiran, where the line was adjusted several times by each side early in the year. In April 1917, the British attacked, gained a considerable amount of ground and resisted strong counter-attacks. In May, the Bulgarians attacked the British positions, but were firmly repulsed.

George was killed in action in Macedonia on 10th June 1917, aged 34 or 35. He was buried in Karasouli Military Cemetery, on the edge of the town of Polykastro (formerly Karasouli), Grave B. 314. He is commemorated on the memorial at All Saints Church, Loughborough, and on the memorial in the former St. Peter's church building as well as on the Carillon.

George's brother Hubert served with the Royal Engineers. He survived the war and was awarded the French Medaille d'Honneur.
 

Second Lieutenant Gerard Bardsley Taylor

 

11th  Bn. Leicestershire Regiment, Attd. 9th Bn. Durham Light Infantry.

Killed in Action 24th September 1918,  Aged 32.

Buried Trefcon British Cemetery D. 29. 

(2 Brothers Arnold & John Taylor also fell see above & below)   

Gerard Bardsley Taylor, known to his family and friends as 'Gerry' was born in Loughborough on 12th May 1886 and baptised on 6th February 1887 at Holy Trinity Church, Loughborough. He was the son of John William and Annie Mary Taylor (née Bardsley) who were married at All Saints Church, Loughborough, on 30th April 1884.

In 1886 the Taylor family was living at 74 Russell Street but they later moved to Bell Foundry House, Freehold Street. Gerry had three brothers John, Arnold and Pryce, and three sisters Josephine, Phyllis and Gwendoline. Another brother Robert died in infancy in 1892.

Gerry attended Shaftesbury Grammar School from September 1893 to July 1902. He was captain of the cricket and football teams, and was Champion Athlete in 1901 and 1902. After leaving the school he entered University College, Nottingham and subsequently worked for Messrs, Griggs and Co. builders' merchants, in Loughborough. He also played regularly for the Loughborough Corinthians Football Club.

On 2nd March 1905, in the year after his mother died, Gerry went to Canada where he became a farmer in Red Deer, Alberta, until the outbreak of the war. Gerry's sister Phyllis joined him in Canada in 1910 for at least a year. She also returned temporarily to Canada, possibly to check out Gerry's farm, in October 1915.

In 1909/10 Gerry's father was married again to Edith Lea from Manchester. Jerry had two step-siblings by his father's second wife, Margaret and Paul.

On 14th December 1914 Gerry enlisted in Alta, Calgary, and joined the 31st Battalion (Alberta Regiment) of the Canadian Infantry as Private 80066. After initial training in Calgary he entrained for Quebec as part of the Canadian Expeditionary Force on 12th May 1915. He sailed for England on 17th May 1915 on the SS Carpathia and reached Shorncliffe, Kent, on 29th May. After training at Dibgate, Lydd and Otterpool Camps and after an inspection by HM The King and Lord Kitchener Gerry's battalion was sent to France on 18th September 1915.

The battalion crossed the Channel from Folkestone to Boulogne on the SS Duchess of Argyll and marched to Ostrohov Rest Camp. On 19th September they entrained for Cassel and marched to St. Sylvestre. Over the next five days they moved via Aldershot Camp, Meteren, and Neuve Eglise to Kemmel.

Between October 1915 and the end of March 1916 the battalion completed fourteen trench tours at Kemmel. Breaks were taken at Kemmel Huts, at Locre or at Berthen. In the trenches the battalion came under repeated heavy enemy shelling and bombardment. On 20th December 1915 Gerry was taken ill with colitis, sent to No. 4 Canadian Field Ambulance and then to a Divisional Rest Station to recover. He rejoined the battalion on 29th December.

On 1st April 1916 the battalion moved to Bailleul for five days rest but was suddenly ordered to the Ypres Salient. They moved to Camp A, west of Dickebusch, in order to take up a new front from the south bank of the Ypres-Comines Canal to St. Eloi. In the line on 4th and 6th April they suffered from two massive enemy bombardments causing 187 casualties. Between 11th and 18th April there was an outbreak of Germen measles among the men and on 18th the battalion was sent into Brigade reserve at Dickebusch and Scottish Wood. Two days occupying the Vormezeele Switch followed and then a move to I Camp to provide working parties.

On 29th April 1916 Gerry was granted eight days leave and may have visited his family in Loughborough. He rejoined the battalion in Brigade reserve at Vormezeele. During the rest of May the battalion was at Camp E, Reninghelst, followed by another period in Brigade reserve at Vormezelle and a trench tour.

After short stays at Quebec and Winnipeg Camps at the beginning of June the battalion moved by lorry and bus to the front at Menin Hill, Ypres. In two trench tours between 5th and 15th June they suffered 229 casualties. The month ended with the battalion in Brigade reserve at Scottish Wood and Vormezeele, followed by a move to Ontario Camp. On 18th June Gerry was sent on a pigeon course at Corps HQ.

During July there were two trench tours in the Bluff sector, with breaks at Ontario and Micmac Camps. On the 31st July the battalion was in the trenches at Vormezeele. In early August one company was in Micmac Camp, one in Scottish Wood, and one on the Vormezeele defences.

On 20th August the battalion began an eight day transfer by march via Steenvoorde and Bollezeele to Ganspette, near Watten, for training and practice in night operations. On 5th September they entrained at St. Omer for Candas, Somme, and marched via Vadencourt to a bivouac area in the brickfields at Albert. On 6th September Gerry was promoted to Lance Corporal. On 10th September the battalion moved to Pozières and La Boiselle.

On 15th September the battalion took part in the first day of the Battle of Flers-Courcelette and incurred 350 casualties. The battalion was withdrawn to the brickfields at Albert on 16th and then marched via Warloy and Vicogne to Fieffes. The return march to the front began on 22nd September and on 25th they moved up to the Sunken Road near Contalmaison where heavy casualties again occurred. On 15th September Gerry was promoted to Acting Corporal and on 1st October to Sergeant.

Between 1st and 13th October the battalion moved between Pozières, Albert, Warloy, Pernoy, Gezaincourt and Maizières. Between 16th October 1916 and 14th January 1917 the battalion completed eight trench tours in the Souchez sector, with breaks at Ablain St. Nazaire, Noulette Wood and Bouvigny Wood.

On 11th January 1917 Gerry was transferred to the Canadian Division at Shorncliffe, Kent, and proceeded to England to train for a commission. On 16th January he was transferred from the 31st Battalion to the 8th Officer Cadet Battalion at Whittington Barracks, Lichfield. On 27th June 1917 he was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant in the Leicestershire Regiment and discharged from the Canadian Expeditionary Force.

In early December 1917 Gerry was granted leave to visit his farm in Canada for three months. He sailed on the SS Missanabie and arrived at St. John's, Newfoundland, on 10th December 1917.

On 19th September 1918 Gerry returned to France, this time as an Officer. He joined the 11th (Service) Battalion (Midland Pioneers) of the Leicestershire Regiment at Tertry, Somme and was posted to D Coy. On 23rd September he was attached to the 2nd Battalion of the Durham Light Infantry near St. Quentin where preparations were being made for an attack on 24th. The Durham Light Infantry had applied to his regiment for three officers to go over the top with them next day. Gerry was one of the three selected, and had scarcely crossed the parapet when he was instantaneously killed by machine gun fire. He was aged 32 when he died.

Gerry was buried in Trefcon British Cemetery, Caulaincourt, Aisne, Grave D. 29.

Gerry's brother Arnold Bradley Taylor, a 2nd Lieutenant with the 9th Leicesters, had been killed on 12th July 1916 and his brother John William Taylor, who served with the 31st Battalion, Canadian Infantry and 66th Battalion (Edmonton Guards) was killed on 15th/16th September 1916. His brother Pryce Taylor who served with the Royal Fusiliers survived the war but died in 1927. Their sister Josephine served with the Red Cross in France during the war.

Gerry is remembered on the Shaftesbury Grammar School War Memorial, on the memorial in All Saints Church, Loughborough, and on the Carillon.

The largest bell in the Carillon itself was given by the Taylor family in memory of the three Taylor brothers lost in the war. A bell was also cast to commemorate all three brothers for the church the Taylor family attended, Holy Trinity Church, Trinity Street, Loughborough. When the church closed in 1998 the bell was given to Palayamcottai Cathedral, Tamil Nadu, India.

Gerry is also remembered on the Canadian Virtual War Memorial.

Loughborough Corinthians Amateur Football Club, photo was taken at the Greyhound-Inn, Nottingham road, Loughborough, in 1903. Gerard Bardsley Taylor (centre front row)

 

Rifleman R/8052 John Morton Taylor

 

8th Bn, King's Royal Rifle Corps.

Died of Wounds 2nd August 1915, Aged 35.

Buried Etaples Military Cemetery, II. B. 30.

 

John Morton Taylor was born in 1879 at Hoton Hills on the border of Nottinghamshire and Leicestershire. He was the eldest son of Frank Taylor, an agricultural labourer and his wife Mary who lived at Vine Tree Terrace, Hoton. John had three younger brothers Thomas, Frank and Jess, and three sisters Gertrude, Susan and Elizabeth. In 1891 John was employed as a cowboy and was lodging at Nottingham Road, Hoton. His parents, meanwhile, after moving to Cold Newton, Billesdon and then Frisby, by 1891 were living at 16 Sparrow Hill, Loughborough. John's father died in 1898; his widow Mary moved her family to 46 Rendell Street, Loughborough and John was now employed as a brewer. By 1911 Mary Taylor had moved with her daughter Susan to 26 Albert Promenade, Loughborough, John had become an iron worker and was boarding at 9 Furnace Row, Ironville, Derbyshire and his brother Jess who had joined the 2nd Battalion of the Leicestershire Regiment was stationed in India.

In late December 1914 or early January of 1915 John enlisted with the King's Royal Rifle Corps and joined the 8th (Service) Battalion as Rifleman R/8052. He trained at Bordon and Aldershot and the battalion was deemed ready for action in May and was attached to the 41st Brigade also known as the 14th Light Division. They proceeded to France, landing at Boulogne on 19th May 1915.

Although the 2nd Battle of Ypres was still in progress (it ended on 25th May) the battalion was unable to join the front because of a shortage of rifle and artillery ammunition. The battalion nevertheless remained in the Ypres area and were often subjected to shelling. On 19th and 20th July they fought in the action at Hooge and were part of the first division to be attacked by flamethrowers or 'liquid fire'. During this latter period John was wounded. He was transferred to Etaples but died from his wounds on 2nd August 1915, aged 35.

Private 101041 John William Taylor

 

31st Bn. Canadian Infantry (Alberta Regt.) and 66th Bn. (Edmonton Guards)

Killed in Action 15th/16th September 1916,  Aged 31.

Commemorated Vimy Memorial. 

(2 Brothers Arnold & Gerard Taylor also fell see above)   

John William Taylor was born in Loughborough on 26th March 1885, the eldest son of John William and Annie Mary Taylor (née Bardsley) of the Bell Foundry, Loughborough. John's parents were married in Loughborough in 1884 and lived at 63 Freehold Street, Loughborough. John had three brothers Arnold, Gerard and Pryce, and three sisters Josephine, Phyllis and Gwendoline. John was educated at Shaftsbury Grammar School and Nottingham University where he graduated with a B.Sc. (London) degree on 14th December 1904. He worked for his father in the family business before emigrating to Canada.

After John's mother died in 1904 his father was married again in 1909/10 to Edith Lea from Manchester. John had two step-siblings by his father's second wife, Margaret and Paul.

John enlisted on 28th July 1915 in Edmonton, Alberta. He joined C Coy of the 31st (Alberta) Battalion of the Canadian Infantry as Private 10141.On enlistment he gave his occupation as 'Teamster', meaning 'Truck driver', and his religion as Church of England. He later transferred to the 66th Battalion (Edmonton Guards) of the Canadian Infantry possibly when the 66th Battalion embarked for Britain on 28th April 1916. The battalion arrived in England on 6th May 1916. Its personnel were absorbed by the 9th Reserve Battalion of the Canadian Expeditionary Force on 7th July 1916 to provide reinforcements for the Canadian Corps in the field and the soldiers of the former 66th Battalion were sent to France on 2nd August 1916.

John was killed in action six weeks later at about midnight on 15th/16th September 1916 in the area between Vimy and Courcelette. He was 31 years old.

John's brother Arnold Bradley Taylor, a 2nd Lieutenant with the 9th Leicesters, had been killed on 12th July 1916 and his brother Gerard Bardsley Taylor serving with 11th Leicesters was killed in 1918. His brother Pryce Taylor who served with the Royal Fusiliers survived the war but died in 1927. Their sister Josephine served with the Red Cross in France during the war. Their father died in 1919. John is remembered on the Vimy Memorial and on the memorial at All Saints Church, Loughborough, as well as on the Carillon. The largest bell in the Carillon itself was given by the Taylor family in memory of the three Taylor brothers lost in the war. A bell was also cast to commemorate all three brothers for the church the Taylor family attended, Holy Trinity Church, Trinity Street, Loughborough. When the church closed in 1998 the bell was given to Palayamcottai Cathedral, Tamil Nadu, India.

 

Able Seaman Bristol Z/4015 Francis Henry Tebbutt

 

Nelson Bn, R. N. Div. Royal Navy Volunteer Reserve.

Killed in Action 13th November 1916,  Aged 20.

Buried Ancre British Cemetery Beaumont Hamel, Somme, I. E. 24  

 

Francis Henry Tebbutt was born in Loughborough on 12th July 1896. He was the son of Robert William Tebbutt, a framework knitter, and his wife Emily (née Hickenbottom) who were married in the Loughborough area in 1895. In 1901 the Tebbutt family lived at 30 Regent Street, Loughborough, but by 1911 had moved to 4, Kilby Road, Fleckney, Leicestershire. In 1911 Francis's mother Emily, who had been a hosiery cutter-out before her marriage was now a winder of cashmere and Francis's widowed grandmother Mary Ann Tebbutt was living with them. Francis was fourteen and employed as a hosiery 'runner-on'. Francis had two younger brothers Hugh and Robert and four younger sisters Norah, Edith, Maud and Barbara. The family later moved to 18 Gladstone Street, Fleckney.

Francis joined the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve (RNVR) as Able Seaman Z/4015 on 28th July 1915 and was sent to the training depot HMS Victory VI at Crystal Palace. He gave his religion as Church of England and stated that he was unable to swim. In August 1915 he was attached firstly to the 1st Battalion and then to the 5th Battalion of the RNVR. At the beginning of October 1915 he joined the 1st Reserve Battalion at Blandford, Dorset, and on 5th December he was drafted to the Nelson Battalion of the Mediterranean Expeditionary Force.

Francis joined the Nelson Battalion, the 5th Battalion of the 1st Royal Naval Brigade in the Royal Naval Division at Mudros, the Allied base and harbour in Lemnos, Greece, in January 1916. At the beginning of April he was transferred from the Nelson Battalion and taken on the strength of the Depot at West Mudros. On 11th May he was transferred from the Depot back to the Nelson Battalion which was now part of the 2nd Royal Naval Brigade. The Nelson Battalion embarked on the HMT Ionian on 16th May and arrived at Marseilles six days later. From Marseilles the battalion travelled to Huppy in the Somme department of Picardy where they received orders to proceed to the Fourth Army training area at Beugin, Pas de Calais. The battalion remained at Beugin under instruction until 17th June when there was a move to Verdrel.

In July 1916 the Nelson Battalion became part of the 189th Brigade of the 63rd (Royal Naval) Division under the aegis of the War Office rather than the Admiralty.

By 2nd July the battalion was in the trenches at Hersin. Further training followed from 8th to 15th July at Camblain Châtelain, after which came a move to Coupigny and Aix-Noulette Wood where the battalion provided working parties. On 25th July Nelson Battalion relieved Hawke Battalion in the trenches at Souchez. Nelson and Hawke Battalions took turns in the trenches, with breaks at Aix-Noulette until 25th August when Nelson Battalion went into Reserve at Ablain-Saint-Nazaire. Nelson Battalion was back in the Souchez trenches on 30th August until the night of the 6/7th September. After a break at Noulette Wood the battalion returned to the Souchez trenches where they came under some enemy fire before leaving for billets in Magnicourt and Houvelin on 19th September. A further period of training followed until 4th October, including live bomb practice at Béthonsart.

On 4th October the battalion marched to Belle Epine and entrained for Acheux. After instruction in bayonet fighting in Acheux Wood the battalion marched to billets in Engelbelmer. The whole battalion was then involved in working parties on trench repairs and stocking ammunition dumps until 20th October. Moving to Mesnil Nelson Battalion then relived the Hawke Battalion in the Hamel Sector and was employed until 24th October in digging new trenches amid some enemy shelling. On 31st October the battalion proceeded to Puchevillers to supply working parties on the roads before return to the Hamel Sector trenches on 9th November.

Francis, a sailor who became a soldier, was killed in action, aged 20, on 13th November 1916, the first day of the Battle of the Ancre. He is buried in Ancre British Cemetery, Beaumont-Hamel, Somme, Grave I. E. 24. He is commemorated on memorials in St. Nicholas's Church, Fleckney, Leicestershire and Emmanuel Church, Loughborough.

Lance Corporal 241334 John Edward Thompson

11th Bn, Leicestershire Regiment.

Missing, presumed dead on or after 22nd March 1918, Aged 33.

Commemorated Arras Memorial Bay 5.

John Edward Thompson was born in late 1884 at Dunton Bassett, Leicestershire and baptised on 25th January 1885 at All Saints' Church, Dunton Bassett. He was the son of Joseph Thompson and Sarah (née Chambers) who were married at All Saints Church, Dunton Bassett, on 14th May 1883. John was the eldest of fifteen children of Joseph and Sarah Thompson, thirteen of whom survived to adulthood. He had nine brothers Joseph, Thomas, George, Percy, Samuel, Walter, Alfred and Harry, and three sisters Kitty, Sarah and Nelly. John's father was an agricultural labourer and soon after John was born his parents moved to Far Street, Wymeswold. In 1901 John, aged 17, was a waggoner for a timber works at Dunton Bassett.

In 1906 John married Hannah Lucy Young in Loughborough and by 1911 the young couple were living at Kingston Fields, Kingston on Soar, Derbyshire. They had two daughters Florence and Hannah and John was working as an agricultural labourer at the Midland Dairy and Agricultural College, also the headquarters of the Board of Agriculture in the Midlands. John's parents, meanwhile, had moved to Hathern Turn. By 1913 John and Hannah had moved back to Loughborough where their son Charles was born.

The date of John's enlistment is unknown as his service papers have not survived but he joined the 11th (Service) Battalion (Midland Pioneers) of the Leicestershire Regiment as Private 241334.

Pioneer battalions were created to provide the Royal Engineers with skilled labour for building roads and trenches, but they were still fighting soldiers.

The Midland Pioneers Battalion was formed at Leicester in October 1915 by the Mayor of Leicester and a local committee and on 29th March 1916 they left Southampton for Le Havre on the H.M.T Lydia, with their equipment on the H.M.T Rossetti.

On 31st March the battalion entrained at Le Havre for Hazebrouck and Poperinghe. They marched to Houtkerque on 1st April and three days later to Esquelbec where they remained until 15th April. Orders then came for the battalion to return to camps at Houtkerque for field working parties and instruction. On 16th July the battalion moved to Brandhoek for trench work in the area of Brandhoek and Ypres.

On 9th August the battalion entrained at Proven for Fienvillers-Candas, and marched via Beauval to Raincheval. After completing trench work at Mesnil, Mailly-Maillet Wood and Acheux the battalion moved to Bertrancourt Camp and worked for the Divisional Salvage Company. From 29th August until 5th September the battalion was in training at Havernas, after which they marched over several days to Bois des Tailles. From here they did some loading and unloading at the Méaulte railhead. On 12th September the battalion moved on to bivouac in the old German trenches and began constructing new tracks towards Guillemont.

On 18th September, and now based in a camp in Happy Valley, the battalion was ordered to clear the battlefields at Guillemont and Ginchy before carrying stores and digging assembly trenches in a new area. For the rest of September the battalion was constructing track from Guillemont through Ginchy to Les Boeufs before moving to camp at the Citadel near Albert. October included road making near Waterlot Farm, constructing tracks, and a week as stretcher bearers before the battalion proceeded to Méricourt l'Abbé, entrained for Oisemont, and marched to Fresnes-Tilloloy for three days rest. On 27th October the battalion marched to Longpré and entrained for the barracks at Béthune, where training took place until 5th November.

During the remainder of November the battalion was employed digging and clearing trenches, sandbagging and working on trench mortar emplacements at Annequin, Maroc, Mazingarbe and Le Quesnoy. They were similarly occupied at Noeux les Mines and Noyelles, with battalion headquarters at La Bourse, until 12th February 1917.

From 16th-26th February there was recreational training before tunnelling work began at Mazingarbe, Noeux-les-Mines, Maroc, Vermelles and Les Brebis which lasted until 1st July. On 12th April Mazingarbe was shelled. Nearly every day during this period there were casualties among the battalion and hospital admissions were comparatively high.

On 2nd July the battalion went by bus to Watou and marched to a camp of pitched tents for instruction until 18th July. On 19th July the battalion transferred by bus to a pitched camp at Dickebusch. From here they worked on the construction of light railways, track laying, ballasting and grading throughout August and September. In October they moved into skeleton houses in Ypres and began making them into billets as well as taking turns by company at a rest camp in Eecke.

At the beginning of November the battalion returned to Béthune, marched to Petit Servins, went by bus to Beaulencourt and marched to tents in Dessart Wood. Work from here included road repairing, digging a pipe trench, filling shell holes, dismantling old dugouts and loading and unloading. On 25th November the battalion moved to Bapaume to work on a broad gauge railway near Havrincourt. In early December the battalion was billeted in trenches near Ribecourt and then in tents at Etricourt before moving by bus to Hendricourt-lez-Ransart for rest, training and rifle drill until 26th December.

On Boxing Day the battalion moved to Courcelles-le-Comte to begin constructing Nissen huts and cookhouses for a new camp on the Achiet-le-Grand to Achiet-le-Petit road. This work lasted until 19th January 1918, after which the men went to Beaumetz-les-Cambrai and Beugny to lay duckboards, excavate sump holes, deepen trenches, and mine for new dugouts. The battalion also took over eight Lewis gun posts from the Royal Scots. In February the battalion was tunnelling and wiring, digging drains on the Vaulx-Morchies road, repairing the Vaulx-Lagnicourt road and grading and cutting a railway.

In March the battalion began excavating a tunnel, cleaning and widening a road to Lagnicourt, making dugouts and screens along the Morchies road and constructing a trench railway in Lagnicourt. This work continued until 20th March, just before the enemy began a Spring Offensive. On 21st March 1918 the battalion was ordered to 'Stand To' in the Vaulx-Morchies Line where it suffered a heavy enemy attack. Casualties over 21st and 22nd March totalled 231. John, aged 33, who had been promoted to Lance Corporal, was one of those found to be missing after the attack and he was later presumed dead.

John is commemorated on the Arras Memorial, Bay 5. He is also remembered on the memorial in All Saints Church, Thorpe Acre.

John's widow died in late 1918 possibly in the influenza epidemic. What happened to their children is unknown, although they seem to have stayed in the Loughborough area.

Lance Corporal 1979 Charles Thorne

 

1/4th Bn, Leicestershire Regiment.

Killed in Action 13th October 1915, Aged 22.

Commemorated Loos Memorial  panel 42 - 44.

 

Charles Thorne was born in 1894 in Lutterworth, the middle child of George and Margaret Kate Thorne (née Payne) who were married in Lutterworth in 1891. He had an older sister Dorothy and a younger brother John and the family lived at 187 New Street, Lutterworth. George Thorne was a tailor and managed the family tailoring business on behalf of his mother, who had been left the business by his father.

When the business was declared bankrupt in 1895 George Thorne returned to being a tailor's cutter but between 1901 and 1911, he must have decided on a complete change of occupation as in 1911 he was a coachman living in Quorn. His wife Margaret, meanwhile, was running a boarding house in Lutterworth and young Charles, now a plumber's apprentice with Norman and Underwood, was lodging with George and Abigail Woodcock at 21-23 Free School Lane, Leicester.

Sometime between 1911 and 1916 Charles' parents George and Margaret settled in Loughborough at 126 Freehold Street where they remained for the rest of their lives.

Their son Charles Thorne enlisted at Leicester on 6th April 1914, when he was almost 21. He joined A Coy of the 1/4th Battalion of the Leicestershire Regiment as Private 1979. In August 1914 the 1/4th Battalion was in Leicester but soon moved to Luton and by November 1914 was in Bishop's Stortford. Charles was sent to France on 2nd March 1915. From Le Havre the battalion was sent by train to Cassel, from whence they marched to Zuytpeene. From there they moved to Strazeele, Sailly, Bac-Saint-Maur, Steenwerck and finally to Armentières. In April and May 1915 they were in trenches at Dranoutre and in June moved to Ouderdom. By the beginning of July they were at Sanctuary Wood, near Ypres and at the end of the month took part in the attack at Hooge, where the Germans used liquid fire.

Charles who had been appointed Lance Corporal (unpaid) on 20th August and was made a paid Lance Corporal on 1st September 1915, was in hospital, partly in St. Omer, from 4th September to 7th October, having contracted scabies. He rejoined his battalion which had been moved to the area of Loos on 7th October. Six days later, on 13th October 1915, he was reported missing in the attack on the Hohenzollern Redoubt, and later assumed to have been killed in action, aged 22.

Lance Corporal Charles Thorne is also commemorated on memorials at All Saints with Holy Trinity Church, Loughborough, St. Mary's Church, Lutterworth, and in the Lutterworth Memorial Garden as well as on the Carillon.

Lance Corporal 6470 Leonard Thornton

 

1st Bn, Leicestershire Regiment.

Died of Cerebro-spinal meningitis 16th May 1915, Aged 28.

Buried Longuenesse (St Omer) Souvenir, I. A. 114.                     

Leonard Thornton was born in 1887 in Loughborough. He was the youngest of seven children in the family of John Thornton, chimney sweep, and his wife Sarah Jane, a hosiery seamer. In 1891 the family lived at 33-34 Woodgate, Loughborough. Around 1896, when his father died, young Leonard was committed by a magistrate to Desford Industrial School at Ratby where he stayed for five and a half years.

As soon as he was 15, Leonard attested at Leicester on 26th August 1902 for twelve years' service with the army. He was just over 4ft 10in tall and gave his occupation as 'Musician'. Classed as a 'Boy' he was posted to the Depot of the Leicestershire Regiment for seven months and then on 6th March 1903 was sent with the 1st Battalion of the Leicestershire Regiment to India. He remained in India for nearly four years, mainly in the Province of Madras, but suffered several bouts of ill-health, including bronchitis, debility and dengue fever.

Leonard returned to England in 1907, was appointed a Bandsman in 1910 and a Lance Corporal in 1913. He was discharged in August 1914, having completed his period of engagement and sometime during July or August 1914 he married Mildred Amy Kemp, a housemaid in the Archbishop's Palace, Canterbury. The newlywed couple were, however, almost immediately separated as Leonard was recalled by the army and sent to France on 9th September 1914 as a trained stretcher bearer.

Leonard's battalion arrived in time to reinforce the hard-pressed BEF on the Aisne, before the whole army was moved north into Flanders and involved in continual fighting. In the spring of 1915 the 1st Leicesters were stationed near Armentières, and were involved in an attack intended to divert the enemy from the area of Neuve Chapelle.

On 1st April 1915 Leonard was taken ill and initially admitted to No. 2 Hospital at Outreau, near Boulogne. He was diagnosed as having cerebro-spinal meningitis and subsequently transferred to No. 10 Stationary Hospital at St. Omer, Pas de Calais, where he died on 17th May.

Left to mourn him were his new wife in Ickham, Kent, his widowed mother at 4 Court B, Nottingham Rd, Loughborough, his three brothers Arthur, John and James, who also enlisted but survived the war, and his three sisters Elizabeth (Mrs. Watterson), Beatrice (Mrs. Southam) and Annie (Mrs. Newton).

Private 41250 Thomas Allen Thorpe

 

17th Bn, Highland Light Infantry.

Formerly 26762 Leicestershire Regiment.

Killed in Action 13th February 1917, Aged 20.

Commemorated Thiepval Memorial, face 15 C..

 

Thomas Allan Thorpe was born in Loughborough in 1897. He was the son of Thomas Thorpe and his wife Ellen Thorpe (nee Moseley) who were married in Loughborough in the early summer of 1894. Thomas Junior had one younger brother Charles and three sisters Grace, Ethel and Phyllis and the family lived for over twenty-five years at 14 Mill Street, Loughborough. Thomas Thorpe Senior was a storekeeper in 1901 and in 1911 was specialising as a dyer and cleaner. By 1911 Thomas Junior, aged 14, was working as a hosiery needle maker but a few years later set up a dyeing and cleaning business at Coalville.

Thomas Junior enlisted in early 1916, joining the Leicestershire Regiment as Private 267632. He subsequently transferred to the 17th (Service) Battalion (3rd Glasgow) of the Highland Light Infantry, also known as the Glasgow Chamber of Commerce Battalion, as Private 41250. His date of transfer, however, is unknown as his service record has not survived. Thomas Junior's date of arrival in France and whether he was with the Highland Light Infantry for the first month of the Somme Offensive are also unknown.

In August 1916 the 17th Battalion left Béthune to take over the Cambrin right sub-sector from the Northamptons where they were subjected to trench mortar bombardments and sniping raids. The following weeks of August, September and October were marked with much moving about with various stretches of trench warfare. On 23rd August they were near Hulluch. On 31st August a move was made to Annequin via Beuvry and Béthune, and ultimately by bus journey to the trenches near Guinchy.

On the 11th September a night raid was attempted, but this was frustrated owing to the Germans bombing the party as it was on the point of entering their trenches. On 4th October the battalion took over 'Village Trench' in the Cambrin Sector (Maison Rouge dugouts), taking over the front line from the 11th Border Regiment. The next move saw the 17th Battalion leave Beuvry, proceeding to Labeauvrière on 16th October; to Hem-Hardinval, on the 19th; to Rubempré, on the 21st; to Bouzincourt, on the 23rd; back by Rubempré and on to Canaples on the 31st via Talmas and Naours. This trekking was done in weather that was more often wet than dry, exceedingly cold at night, and the living was under canvas. The battalion was at Val-de-Maison on 1st November moving to Vadencourt after a fortnight, and then into the Martinsart Valley on the 15th, where they were ordered to go into action at Beaumont-Hamel, as several drafts of men had now brought up the strength of the battalion.

The attack which commenced on November 18th failed due to the inefficiency of the British supporting barrage, together with the condition of the ground - thaw having set in and rain falling on the snow, making it exceedingly slippery. Over 300 men were either killed or wounded in the day's fighting.

On the 19th November the Battalion returned to billets in Mailly-Maillet. During December the battalion carried on training at Franqueville and Rubempré. Christmas Day 1916 was marked by football and rugby matches and a concert.

The opening months of the New Year 1917 were months of battling not only against a human enemy, but against the elements in another severe winter. The battalion left Rubempré on 6th January and proceeded to Courcelles where, on the following day, they relieved the troops of the 3rd Division in the trenches opposite Serre. The enemy was quite active and most of the trenches were completely impassable, being full of water to a height of five feet.

Heavy and continuous work was put in mending and improving the trenches, training the drafts which were arriving, performing tactical exercises and battalion routine affairs. The tediousness of trench work was relieved by the establishment of special strong posts, by minor raids on the enemy, and when out of the line by football and other recreations when circumstances permitted. This type of campaigning was experienced during January and February at Courcelles, Beaumont-Hamel, Lytham Camp near Mailly-Maillet, and Bolton Camp near Molliens-au-Bois.

On 13th February 1917 the battalion began an attack on an enemy post but met with fierce resistance and during this attack Thomas was killed in action, aged 20. He is remembered on the Thiepval Memorial, Face 15 C. Thomas is also commemorated on the memorial at All Saints' Church, Loughborough, on the Clock Tower War Memorial, Coalville, and on the memorial in Christ Church, Coalville, as well as on the Carillon.




Clock Tower War Memorial, Coalville


Lance Corporal 11909 Charles Clarence Thorpe

 

8th Bn, Leicestershire Regiment.

Died of Wounds 13th September 1915, Aged 20.

Buried Beauval Communal Cemetery C. 16.

 

Charles Clarence Thorpe was born in Loughborough in 1895. He was the only son of Charles Thorpe, a brush-maker and finisher, and his second wife Annie B. Cope who were married in Lincoln in 1884. Charles Clarence had two sisters, Beatrice and Lady Grace. He also had three half-siblings Thomas, William and Elizabeth Thorpe from his father's first marriage to Ann Davison (who had died sometime between 1881 and 1884). When he married for the second time Charles Thorpe initially moved his family from Lincoln to The Rushes, Loughborough, then to 79 Gladstone Street, 9 Regent Street, and later to 107 Meadow Lane.

In 1911 Charles Clarence was a general labourer but when he enlisted on 29th August 1914 he described himself as a mechanic. Initially destined as a Private for the 6th Leicestershire Regiment, at some point he was transferred to the 8th Leicesters. By the end of September 1914 he was in Aldershot. At the end of February 1915 he moved to Folkestone, and then, at the beginning of April 1915 to Perham Down on the edge of Salisbury Plain. Having been promoted to Lance Corporal on 20th April 1915, he entered France three months later on 29th July. He had only been in the trenches in the Somme area of Picardy for a month and a half when he was wounded in action. He died from his wounds on 13th September 1915 at the 4th Casualty Clearing Station, Beauval.

Sapper 140267 Thomas Rock Timperley

 

Training Centre, Royal Engineers.

Died at Llandudno 29th December 1915,  Aged 23.

Buried Loughborough Cemetery 15/106.

 

Thomas Rock Timperley was born in Loughborough in 1892, the son of Thomas Timperley and Maria Timperley (née Rock) who were married in East Ham, Essex, in 1891. Thomas and Maria had three other children, John, Leonard and Marguerite, but John and Leonard died just after they were born and Marguerite died aged eight. Thomas Timperley Senior had a joinery business and the family lived at 31 Regent Street, Loughborough, in 1901 and at 87 Regent Street in 1911. Soon after 1911 they moved to Rockholme, Westfield Drive, Loughborough.

Thomas Rock Timperley joined his father in the joinery business, but enlisted at Loughborough when war broke out in 1914. He was sent as Sapper 140267 to the Royal Engineers Training Centre at Deganwy, near Llandudno, North Wales. He died at Llandudno on 29th December 1915, aged 23.

A newspaper report of his funeral at Loughborough read as follows:

"The funeral took place at Loughborough Cemetery on Saturday of Sapper Thomas Rock Timperley, who died in hospital at Llandudno. The first portion of the burial service was taken at St, Peter's Church by the Vicar, the Rev. R.J. Sturdee, and was attended by a large number of relatives and friends. The choir sang the hymns 'When I Survey the wondrous cross' and 'Peace, perfect peace', and also chanted Psalm xxxix. The chief mourners were Mr. and Mrs. T. Timperley (father and mother) Mrs. Robert Timperley (Leicester), aunt, Mrs. Arthur Timperley (Olney), aunt; Mrs. Krober (London), aunt; Miss Edith Timperley (cousin) and Miss Callis. The service was also attended by a deputation the Amalgamated Society of Carpenters and Joiners, of which deceased was formerly a member, and also a detachment of the Church Lads' Brigade under Captain Carter. After the commitment service at the graveside the C.L.B. buglers sounded 'The Last Post' over the grave of their former comrade."

Thomas Rock Timperley is remembered on the St. Peter's Church Memorial, Loughborough, as well as on the Carillon.

Sergeant 16469 George Tomlinson D.C.M.

 

1st Bn, Leicestershire Regiment.

Died of Wounds 27th March 1917, Aged 21. 

Buried Calais Southern Cemetery, F. Row 5, 3.                      

George Tomlinson was born in Loughborough in 1896, the son of John Tomlinson and Lizzie Ann Tomlinson (née Clarke) who were married in Loughborough in 1885. George's father was a shoemaker and shoe repairer and in 1901 the Tomlinson family lived at 34 Nottingham Road, Loughborough. George had three brothers Samuel, Douglas and John and one sister Gertrude. Two other siblings had died young. After George's father died in 1907, aged 42, the family moved to 106 Freehold Street. In 1911 young George, aged 15, was a bootmaker's and boot repairer's apprentice. George's mother later moved to 53 Burder Street.

George enlisted in Loughborough in January 1915 and joined the Leicestershire Regiment as Private 16469. His service record has not survived but it is known that, after a year's training, he was sent to Flanders to join the 1st Battalion in January 1916.

The 1st battalion of the Leicesters was part of the 71st Infantry Brigade of the Sixth Division of the Army. In January and February 1916 the battalion was holding the trenches in the Wieltje sector of the Ypres Salient with breaks at billets in Poperinghe. Much of the time was spent patrolling enemy trenches amid occasional enemy shelling and sniping. In March the enemy began a heavy bombardment and in mid-March the battalion was withdrawn to St. Jean-Ter-Bierzen to work on a new railway.

In April 1916 the whole of the 71st Infantry Brigade was concentrated in a camp outside Calais where ten days training took place, after which the 1st Battalion of the Leicesters moved to the Wormhoudt area. From the trenches here during April to June the battalion bombed the enemy with vigour. The first half of July was spent in billets in Volkeringhove and Wormhoudt and after a return to the front-line trenches on 2nd August the battalion entrained at Proven for Candas in the Somme.

From Candas they proceeded to a camp in Mailly-Maillet Wood and on 14th August took over the line in front of Beaumont-Hamel. The 71st Brigade was now part of the Fourth Division of the Army which was preparing for an offensive in September. On 27th August the battalion left the Mailly-Maillet camp and arrived at the assembly area near Méaulte on 11th September. The attack began on 15th September where the battalion found itself opposed to the 9th Bavarian Infantry Regiment. On 17th the battalion was withdrawn to Maltz Horn Farm and then to billets at Ville sur Ancre, having suffered many casualties.

On 26th September the battalion was sent to trenches east of Morval followed by rest in billets at Guillemont. The battalion had only a supporting role in the Battle of Le Transloy (1st-18th October) and by October 21st as back in billets in Corbie. On 24th October the battalion was ordered to move to Fouquières les Béthune, which they reached on 29th. For the greater part of November 1916 the battalion remained in reserve and was involved in training of all kinds.

In November 1916 George was awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal. The citation in the London Gazette for 25th November 1916 reads: 'For conspicuous gallantry in action. He commanded and fought four trench mortars with great courage and determination. He stood on the parapet to observe the fire of his guns. He set a splendid example throughout the operations.' During 1916 he was twice promoted from Private to Corporal and from Corporal to Sergeant.

The 1st Leicesters spent January 1917 by turns in the front line and in billets at Mazingarbe. During February the battalion carried out a number of raids on the enemy's trenches before being relieved for a break at Montmorency Barracks, Béthune. On the last day of February and March 1st the whole 4th Division of the Army moved to the area north of Loos and the 1st Leicesters went into the trenches at Philosophe, an industrial village on the main road west of Loos-en-Gohelle.

On 16th March 1917 George, who at the time was attending the 71st Trench Mortar Battery, was admitted to No. 33 Casualty Clearing Station in Béthune. He was seriously wounded in the right shoulder and head. The wound became poisoned and he was transferred to No. 9 British Red Cross Hospital at Calais (otherwise known as the Duchess of Sutherland's Hospital) where he died on 27th March 1917, aged 21. George's mother received the following letter from the hospital: I am very sorry to have to tell you that your son died suddenly from his wounds on Tuesday evening, he was very badly wounded in the shoulder and the poisoning from the wound got to his heart. He has been buried in the cemetery just outside Calais besides many other brave men who have so nobly given their lives for king and country.

George is buried in Calais Southern Cemetery, F. Row 5, 3.

 

Gunner 111120 Richard Forman Tomlinson

 

G Bty. Royal Horse Artillery.

Killed in Action 14th November 1916,  Aged 27.

Buried Aveluy Wood Cemetery, Mesnil-Martinsart, Somme, I. E. 4.

 

Richard Forman Tomlinson was born in Loughborough in 1889. He was the son of Joseph Tomlinson and his wife Mary (née Forman) who were married in Derbyshire in October 1871. Richard's father was a coachman and groom and his mother was a laundress. In 1891 the Forman family lived at 68 Moor Lane, Loughborough, and in 1901 at 22 Salmon Street. Richard had two brothers Joseph and Percy and three sisters Sarah Elizabeth, Henrietta, and Miriam. When Richard's father died in 1910 his mother moved to 4 Burder Street with Henrietta, Miriam and Percy. She later moved to 62 Freehold Street.

In 1913 Richard was a domestic servant at the Vicarage in Little Dunmow, Essex. The cook at the Vicarage was Florence Emily Mary Thomas, a gardener's daughter. Richard and Florence were married on 21st April 1913 at the Church of St. Mary the Virgin, Little Dunmow by their employer the Reverend Edgar Iliff Robson. After their marriage Richard became the church organist from October 1913 until he enlisted in October 1915.

Richard joined the Royal Horse Artillery (RHA) as Gunner 111120. His service record has not survived and it appears that he was not sent to France until 1916 as he was not awarded the 1914/15 Star medal. He was in G Battery of the RHA which was based at Ipswich, Suffolk. During the time Richard was with G Battery it was part of the IV Brigade, RHA in the 3rd Cavalry Division of the Army and attached to 8th Cavalry Brigade.

G Battery was near Vermelles, France for all of January and most of February 1916 on a very difficult trench section where there was heavy enemy bombardment. Finally relieved on 22nd February the battery moved to rest billets in Wailly, near Fruges. They remained there until 15th May, undergoing training. Training continued at Saint-Riquier until the end of May when they moved back to the Fruges area. The battery remained in Fruges until 24th June when they moved again to concentrate in the area between Bonnay and La Neuville.

In the Somme Offensive from July to November 1916 the cavalry moved about with horses, close behind the front, expectant of the eventual breakthrough which never came. On 1st July G battery was in La Neuville and ready to move at very short notice. On 4th July they proceeded to billets close to Pont-Remy and on 9th July to billets at Bonnay where they remained until the end of July. At the beginning of August the battery moved to the area of Le Quesnoy west of Amiens from where they proceeded via Ligescourt and Wadicourt to Créquy. G Battery then went into billets at Grigny near Hesdin until 9th September.

The same pattern followed for most of September: various moves by day and billets in Dompierre and Belloy-sur-Somme, bivouacs at La Neuville and Daours, then billets at Frohen-le-Grand and finally Mouriez. On 21st October the battery left Mouriez for the area of Le Poncel on the River Authie. On the following day they moved to St. Ouen north-west of Amiens and the next day to Engelbelmer. On 24th October, in the early morning they joined V Corps and went into action at Aveluy Wood under orders of the 63rd Division, being temporarily attached to the 18th Division for shooting. From 25th to 29th October the battery was employed in improving positions and registering trenches in the area of St. Pierre Divion, near Mesnil-Martinsart.

On the first day of the Battle of the Ancre (13th November) G Battery, together with C and K Batteries, covered the advance of the 39th Division by firing on barrage lines. Just after midday G Battery was ordered to take up position along the line of the Beaucourt-sur-l'Ancre Road from Hamel. At about 1.00am on 14th November Richard was killed, aged 27, at gun position and two others with him were wounded. He was buried at Aveluy Wood Cemetery (Lancashire Dump), Mesnil-Martinsart, Grave I. E. 4.

Richard is commemorated on the war memorial in Little Dunmow Church and on a small framed metal plaque kept by the church organ. He is also remembered on the Felsted and Little Dunmow Roll of Honour, on the memorial in All Saints' Church, Loughborough and on the Carillon.

Richard's widow Florence joined the Women's Auxiliary Army Corps (WAAC) in 1917. After the war she moved to Clematis Cottage, Clifton Hampden, Abingdon, Berkshire. In the summer of 1925 she married Richard's younger brother Percy at Loughborough. Percy had served with the Highland Light Infantry and the Tank Corps in the war.
  

 

Private 241206 Frederick Bradley Tooley

 

2/4th Bn, Leicestershire Regiment.

Presumed Killed in Action 22nd March 1918, Aged 31.

Commemorated Arras Memorial, bay 5. 

 

 
Frederick Bradley Tooley was born in 1886 in Shepshed. He was the second son of Arthur Bradley Tooley and his wife Emma (née Lakin) who were married in the Loughborough area in 1884. Frederick was one of sixteen children, nine of whom survived to adulthood. He had six brothers John, Wells, Harold, Thomas, Robert and Reginald and two sisters Beatrice and Mary. In 1891 Frederick's father started out as a framework knitter but later became a shoe finisher and in his spare time bred prize-winning rabbits. The Tooley family lived at New Walk and then moved to the Bull Ring, both in Shepshed, before settling at 20 Shakespeare Street, Loughborough, between 1901 and 1911. At the age of 15 Frederick was a shoe plater and he progressed to being a rate hand.

On 20th March 1910 Frederick married Elizabeth Stubbs Powell at St. Botolph's Church in Shepshed. The couple came to live at 2 Barrow Street, Loughborough, and Frederick found employment as a machinist in a lace factory. One year later their only child Joseph was born.

Frederick enlisted in Loughborough and joined the 2/4th Battalion of the Leicestershire Regiment as Private 3474 (later renumbered as Private 201206). The 2/4th Battalion was formed at Leicester in September 1914 as a second line unit. It became part of 2nd Lincoln and Leicester Brigade, 2nd North Midland Division. In January 1915 it moved to Luton and by July 1915 was at St Albans and in August 1915 became the 177th Brigade, 59th (2nd North Midland) Division. In April 1916 it moved to Ireland to help deal with the Easter Uprising, returning to Fovant, Hampshire, in January 1917. As Frederick's service record has not survived, however, his date of enlistment and whether he was sent to Ireland are unknown.

On 24th February the battalion left Fovant Camp for Southampton and crossed the Channel to Le Havre. After a day's rest the battalion proceeded to Pont du Metz and from there to Fouencamps, Somme. On 1st March they moved to No. 59 Camp, Bayonvillers for four days rest before transferring via Foucacourt to the reserve trenches at Belloy and up to the front line on 11th March. By 17th March the enemy had retreated and the battalion occupied former German trenches. Between 21st and 20th March the battalion moved via Foucacourt, Eterpigny, Mesnil and Cartigny to Hamelet to support the 5th Leicesters in an attack on Hesbecourt and Hervilly.

On 2nd April the battalion attempted to attack Fervaque Farm but found it too heavily wired. Moving on to Roisel they took over the line from Margicourt to Fervaque Farm and down to Grand Priel Woods, gradually pushing the line forward. Relieved on 19th April the battalion went to billets in Bernes until 28th April when they went to the support line from Le Verguier to north of Pieumel Woods.

In May the battalion completed three trench tours, two in the front line near Ascension Farm and one in support north of Le Verguier, with nine days rest at Bias Wood camp. A further five days rest at Desssart Wood camp were followed by a front line trench tour at Villers-Plouich and four days in support at Gouzeaucourt Wood in June, after which the battalion rested in tents at Equancourt until 1st July. July began with the battalion in the front and support lines at Equancourt and then in support at Metz. On 10th July the battalion was relieved and marched to Barastre, south-east of Arras, for Divisional training and sports until 22nd August.

On 22nd August the battalion moved by route march and bus to Senlis where training continued until 31st August. After Senlis there were three more weeks training at Winnezeele before the battalion transferred to the Poperinghe area on 20th September. On 24th September the battalion moved into the Ypres North sector of the front to support the Staffordshire Regiment. On 25th September two companies of the 2/4th Battalion were in the front line, one company was in support and one was providing carrying parties.

On 26th September an attack was launched on the enemy in the Battle of Polygon Wood (a phase of the 3rd Battle of Ypres, or Passchendaele). The enemy responded with a barrage of fire and all-day shelling. On the 27th September the battalion relieved the 4th and 5th Lincolns in the front line and extended the frontage by 300 yards. Although the Germans counter-attacked they were held off, but persisted with another two-day heavy barrage. When the battalion was relieved on 30th September casualties numbered 175.

On 1st October the battalion began a twelve day move from Vlamertinghe to Thiennes by train, by bus and march to Beaumetz, then route march via Dieval, Houdain and Gouy Servins to Souchez. Reorganisation and some training took place on rest days during the move. Trench tours in the Avion sector followed, with battalion headquarters at Lens Canal. Training took place at Gouy Servins until 28th October when the battalion moved to Lievin by the Decauville railway.

November included a front line trench tour, when the battalion was trench mortared by the enemy, and training at Chateau de la Haie and Bailleulval. On 23rd November the battalion entrained at Achiet-le-Grand for Fins and camped in Dessart Wood before marching to Flesquières and La Justice.

On 30th November there was an SOS from the front regarding a heavy enemy bombardment and attack and on 1st December the battalion took over the front and support lines at Bourlon Wood. For two days the enemy artillery pounded the lines with heavy gas and high explosives. On 4th December the battalion withdrew to the old Hindenburg support line for rest, training, and to provide working parties. From 10th-14th December the battalion was at Trescaulte for more working parties before marching to Lechelle camp and then to Bertincourt.

After a trench tour at Dival and on the Hindenburg front the battalion moved on Christmas Day to Lignereuil by route march and train. The battalion remained at Lignereuil for rest and training until 8th February 1918.

On 9th February 1918 the battalion began a three-day move via Bavincourt, Blairville and Armagh Camp, Bullecourt, to the front where they experienced heavy shelling and a sustained enemy barrage. Relieved on 18th and in the process of moving to l'Abbaye Camp, Mory, D Company was caught in shellfire. At Mory the men participated in inspections, training and some football before going back to the front near Bullecourt on 24th February. Here the Germans attempted a bombing raid but a patrol subsequently found that they had abandoned their trench.

In early March the Germans were fairly quiet but by 14th it had become clear that they were planning an attack and on 17th March 800 drums of gas were fired into the enemy lines. The battalion was in Divisional Reserve at Mory when, on 21st March, they were ordered to the assembly lines and then to the support lines. Before they reached the support lines, however, they came under heavy enemy machine gun fire, and the Germans continued their advance. Frederick, aged 31, was presumed dead on 22nd March 1918.

Frederick is remembered on the Arras Memorial Bay 5, on the war memorial in the former St. Peter's Church building, Loughborough, and on the Carillon.

Frederick's brother Wells also served in the Leicestershire Regiment and his brother John in the Royal Army Service Corps. Both survived the war.
 

 

Private 7242 Herbert Topham

 

2nd Bn, King's Own Yorkshire Light Infantry.

Killed in Action 30th October 1914,  Aged 28.

Commemorated Le Touret Memorial panel 31.

 

Herbert Topham was born in 1883 in Slawston, Leicestershire, the son of George Topham, a carter, and Betsy Ann Topham (née Spence) who were married in Uppingham in 1873. Herbert had seven siblings Charles, Jeffie, Walter, Arthur, Alfred, Margaret and Florence and at the time of the First World War their parents were living at 7 Eastbourne Rd, Leicester. Herbert, a motor driver, married Ann Simpson from Mountsorrel in 1908 and he and his wife moved to 10 Thomas Street, Loughborough. Herbert and Ann had two young sons, Herbert Charles born in 1910 and Frank born in 1913.

When war broke out Herbert was training with his Battalion at the Curragh, near Dublin. On 16th August the battalion landed at Le Havre. They took part in the retreat from Mons, and on 26th August the battalion was in action at the Battle of Le Cateau, the British Army's biggest battle since Waterloo where they suffered approximately 600 casualties.

From 7th to 10th September Herbert's battalion supported the French at the Battle of the Marne, and were then rested for a few days. On 8th and 9th October they travelled by train from the River Aisne to Abbeville, and were then transported by bus to fight alongside the French at La Bassée. From October 24th they were involved in heavy fighting and were in action at Messines, where they took part in an attack at the east end of the village.

Herbert Topham was lost in battle on 30th October 1914. His wife, Ann, was married again in Loughborough in 1918 to Albert Newbold, who was with the Leicestershire Regiment in the war, and they lived at 1 Cradock Street, Loughborough.

 

Private 2810 Edward Charles Trussell

 

13th Kensington Bn, London Regiment.

Killed in Action 9th May 1915, Aged 19.

Commemorated Ploegsteert Memorial panel 10. 

 

Edward Trussell was the only son of Edward Albert and Florence Trussell. His father Edward Senior and his brother Ernest, who originally came from Hitchin in Hertfordshire, ran a hairdressing business in Loughborough at 25 Derby Square. Edward Junior was born in East Grinstead, Sussex, in 1896. Edward enlisted between 1st September and 1st November 1914. By March 1915 he had joined the 1/13th Princess Louise's Kensington Battalion of the London Regiment in France and was in action at the Battle of Neuve Chapelle. Two months later he was in the Battle of Aubers Ridge (part of the British contribution to the Second Battle of Artois, a Franco-British offensive intended to exploit the German diversion of troops to the Eastern Front).

At Aubers Ridge intelligence about the newly strengthened German positions was not available or given sufficient attention. The duration and weight of the British bombardment was wholly insufficient to break the German wire and breastwork defences, or to destroy or suppress the front-line machine-guns. Trench layout, traffic flows and organisation behind the British front line did not allow for easy movement of reinforcements and casualties. British artillery equipment and ammunition were in poor condition: the first through over-use, the second through faulty manufacture. It soon became impossible to tell precisely where British troops were; accurate close-support artillery fire was impossible.

This battle was an unmitigated disaster for the British army. No ground was won and no tactical advantage gained. It is doubted if it had the slightest positive effect on assisting the main French attack 15 miles (24 km) to the south.

More than 11,000 British casualties were sustained on 9 May 1915, the vast majority within yards of their own front-line trench. Mile for mile, Division for Division, this was one of the highest rates of loss during the entire war. The Kensington battalion lost 436 men, including 13 officers. Edward Trussell was one of those lost.
 

Lance Corporal 267615 George Archie Turner

 

1/5th Bn, Duke of Wellingtons (West Riding Regt.)

Killed in Action 1st November 1918,  Aged 21.

Buried Maing Communal Cemetery Ext. C. 1. 

 

George Archie Turner was one of the old Church-gate boy's he lived at 18 Clarence Street Loughborough. Son of Edmund & Elizabeth Turner of 15 Harriet Street Derby.
 

2nd Lieutenant Roger Bingham Turner

 

3rd Bn, Cheshire  Regiment.

Killed in Action Iraq 9th April 1916,  Aged 21.

Commemorated Basra  Memorial Iraq, panel 14 & 62. 

 

Roger Bingham Turner was born on the 9th August 1895 in Moffat, Dumfriesshire, Scotland. He was the son of Bingham Dixon Turner and his wife, Dora who was the daughter of Major James Sweetenham (East Kent Regiment). His brother, James Reginald Bingham Turner was born in 1896 in Glasgow. The main family home was Bryn Estyn, Hough Green, Chester.

In 1901 the family was living in Loughborough where Bingham Dixon Turner was the Headmaster of the Loughborough Grammar School. Roger was a pupil there from May 1905 until April 1906 when he left to attend Sandroyd Preparatory School, Cobham from 1906 - 1909, followed by Charterhouse from 1909 to 1914 where he was awarded both junior and senior scholarships and became head of Bodeites House. In October 1914 he gained an open classical scholarship at Jesus College, Cambridge and remained there until March 1915.

Whilst at Jesus College he trained with the Cambridge Officer Training Corps. On the 12th April 1915 he received his commission and was gazetted as 2nd Lieutenant in the 3rd (Reserve) Battalion of the Cheshire Regiment. He was subsequently attached to the 8th Battalion which was training in Pirbright, Surrey.

On the 1st September 1915 Roger went with a draft to Gallipoli and took part in the evacuation of Suvla Bay on 19th and 20th December 1915. After a week's rest his battalion moved to the Helles bridgehead. The battalion was in action during the last Turkish attacks at Helles on 7th January 1916 and were evacuated from Helles on 8th and 9th January.

On 12th February 1916, after a short rest in Egypt, Roger went with the 8th Battalion to Mesopotamia to join the force being assembled near Sheikh Sa'ad for the relief of the besieged garrison at Kut al Amara. The battalion joined the Tigris Corps on 27th March and were in action in the unsuccessful attempts to relieve Kut. In May Roger was reported as missing after being wounded on the 9th April and subsequently confirmed as killed in action at Sanna-i-yat when taking part in a charge on the enemy's entrenched position, to relieve Kut. He was 20 years old.

A fellow officer wrote: 'He was a splendid officer, always doing his work without fear or fuss, and always cheery. I saw a lot of him and like everyone else, appreciated his usefulness and fine conduct. I know too, how much his Company Commander, who was killed about the same time, appreciated his work'.

Roger Bingham Turner has no grave and is commemorated on the Basra Memorial, the Loughborough Carillon Memorial, All Saints with Holy Trinity Church Memorial and Loughborough Grammar School's Roll of Honour as well as on the Rolls of Honour at Jesus College, Cambridge, and Charterhouse. At Loughborough Grammar School there is also a memorial clock given by the Turner family and it bears the words of the family motto: 'Vive ut Vivas' which means 'Live life to the full'. A memorial stained glass window to Roger Bingham Turner was also placed in the cloisters of Chester Cathedral.

Roger's brother James Reginald Bingham Turner served in the Royal Field Artillery, survived the war and was awarded the Military Cross 'For conspicuous gallantry and ability in command of his battery during intense fighting. On two separate occasions he carried out daring reconnaissances at Pot-de-Vin under very heavy machine-gun and artillery fire, obtaining most valuable information'.

Private 20536 William Henry Valentine Tustain

 

7th Bn. Leicestershire Regiment.

Killed in Action 28th April 1917, Aged 33.

Commemorated Arras Memorial, bay 5. 

 

William Henry Valentine Tustain was born in 1883 in Hempton, Oxfordshire, and baptised on 12th September 1883 at St. Michael's Church, Barford. He was the son of George Tustain and his wife Sarah (née Taylor) who were married at Barford in 1870. William had two brothers Anthony and Sidney and three sisters Norah, Mary and Winifred.

William's father was a baker and carrier in 1881 and the Tustain family lived in Kempton Road, Barford, but by 1891 George Tustain was landlord of the Red Lion Inn, Deddington, Oxfordshire. George Tustain unfortunately died in 1893, aged 45, and William's mother Sarah moved to 40 Forest Road, Loughborough, with three of her children including William. William joined the Emmanuel Church Lads Brigade and by 1901 he was a blacksmith's labourer. William's mother later moved to 9 Albert Place.

William enlisted with the Leicestershire Regiment probably in late 1914 or early 1915. His precise date of enlistment is unknown as his service papers have not survived. He was posted to the 7th (Service) Battalion as Private 20536 and was sent to France on 29th December 1915. At that point the 7th Leicesters were involved in various trench warfare activities in the area of Arras. The freezing weather of January 1916 made life doubly difficult and in February they were required to take over extra trench areas vacated by the French who were concentrating every effort at the Battle of Verdun. These new trenches eventually included those in front of Bailleulment to the left of existing positions and to the right as far as far as Hannescamps. At the same time the enemy redoubled their efforts in shelling Berles-au-Bois. When not in the trenches the 7th Leicesters received intensive training in bombing, Lewis gunnery, visual signalling and a host of other activities. In April they were moved to the Doullens area and formed working parties to cut down trees and prepare brushwood for the front line as well as repairing the support trenches in the area. In May they worked on building a new railway line between Le Bret and Bienvillers-au-Bois. Those not building the railway were in the trenches. Towards the end of May the battalion returned to the trenches in the Bienvillers-Bailleulmont area. At the beginning of July the 7th Battalion moved on to the Somme. They were at Fricourt on 13th July and at Mametz Wood and in the attack on Bazentin-le-Petit on 14th July. After the Bazentin Ridge battle the battalion marched away from the Somme and entrained for part of the journey to Hangest. On 6th August they took over a section of battered trenches at Agnez-lès-Duisans, near Arras.

After ten days training at Denier and Sars-le-Bois the battalion entrained for the Somme on 12th September and bivouacked outside Montauban north-east of Bernafay Wood. On 25th September they fought very bravely and successfully at Gueudecourt in an action which was part of the Battle of Morval.

On 4th October the battalion entrained once more for the north and the countryside of Loos, taking over positions opposite the Hohenzollern Redoubt with rest billets at Mazingarbe, Philosophe, or Vermelles. Training at Cauchy-à-la-Tour and Houtkerque followed. Back in the trenches in March 1917 the battalion experienced what one soldier called 'the bombardment of our lives'.

On 29th March the battalion entrained at Noyelles for Saulty-L'Arbret and marched to La Cauchie and on to Moyenneville. On 4th April the battalion went into the front line at St. Leger Croisilles, with breaks at Moyenneville. From 15th to 23rd April the battalion was in training at Bailleulval before returning to the trenches at St. Leger Croisilles.

William was killed in action on 28th April 1917, the first day of the Battle of Arleux. He was 33. He is commemorated on Bay 5 of the Arras Memorial and on the memorial at Emmanuel Church, Loughborough, as well as on the Carillon.

Private 281126 Jim Tyler

 

South Nottinghamshire Hussars.

Formerly 2350 South Nottinghamshire Hussars

Died at Sea 27th May 1918, Aged 21.

Commemorated Chatby Memorial, Alexandria, Egypt.

 

Jim Tyler was born in 1897 in Loughborough, the son of James Tyler and Emma Tyler (née Jacques) who were married at St. Paul's Church, Nottingham, on 5th November 1884. Jim had one older brother Thomas and six sisters: Ethel, Annie, Hilda, Dorothy, Edna and Chrissie. In 1901 the Tyler family lived at 20 Ratcliff Road, Loughborough and Jim's father was a horse dealer. By 1911 Jim's father had become the hotel keeper of the Corporation Hotel in Wharncliffe Road.

Jim enlisted at Nottingham and joined the Nottinghamshire Yeomanry (South Nottinghamshire Hussars) as Private 2350, later renumbered as 281126. His service record has not survived and the precise dates of his enlistment and when he was sent abroad are unknown. His medal record reveals that he was not sent abroad until 1916 at the earliest and he may have been sent to Egypt with a batch of reinforcements in early 1916.

In Egypt the 1/1st South Notts Hussars, now part of the 7th Mounted Brigade, were in training prior to their despatch to Salonica in February 1916. Shortly after this deployment they found themselves stationed near the Spanc River, where they were involved in several skirmishes whilst out on patrol.

In July, when they were near the village of Julah, a serious outbreak of malaria struck the unit resulting in about 50 officers and 350 men being hospitalised. Whether Jim was a victim, however, is not known. The battalion was moved to Guveyne in August to await the return of the men from hospital. Meanwhile they were involved in various actions against the Bulgarians. For much of their time in the Balkans outpost work was a feature, where the men suffered frequent casualties. They not only had to contend with the Bulgarian Cavalry, but also German Dragoons and Uhlans, and later Turkish Cavalry.

By late June 1917 the South Notts Hussars had left Macedonia and sailed for Egypt, arriving at Alexandria on 29th June, 1917 and were rested for a while at Ismailia Ferry. Battle honours included 'Struma' and 'Macedonia 1916-17. They were at Ismailia for six weeks and training commenced with machine gun sections now being formed.

Little else happened until 6th August, when they were inspected by General Sir Edmund Allenby and six days later they marched with the brigade to Khan Yunus, near Gaza, on the Palestine frontier, followed by a most difficult journey over the Sinai Desert for both men and horses. At this point in the war the prestige of the British was at a low point following the evacuation of Gallipoli, the fall of Kut-el-Amara and two unsuccessful attacks on Gaza in the spring of 1917. Turkish forces were on a wide 30 mile front between Gaza and Beersheba and had the benefit of good roads and a railway.

General Allenby undertook some reorganisation and formed the Desert Mounted Corps, of which the South Nottinghamshire Hussars Yeomanry was in the Corps Reserve. The total of British forces amounted to 76,000, of which 20,000 were mounted, with the enemy mustering 49,000. One of the problems, however, was the heat at 110 degrees in the shade.

The South Notts Hussars undertook a good deal of reconnaissance duties towards Beersheba prior to the attack there, which took place on 30th October, 1917. They helped to overcome the Turks and Beersheba was secured, along with its important water resource. The advance continued and they headed towards Jerusalem. The Turks attacked at Nebi Samwail in an effort to regain lost ground and there were on-going battles with them, including the 3rd Battle of Gaza (1/2nd November), Mughar Ridge (13th November) and Nebi Samwil (17th-24th November). From the end of November onwards the South Notts continued to be involved in a good deal of close quarter fighting and at the end of 1917 Jerusalem was taken.

In April 1918 the South Notts Hussars moved to Sidi Bishr Camp near Alexandria, Egypt. Here further reorganisation took place and the South Notts Hussars paraded for the last time as Cavalry. They left the 7th Mounted Brigade and were dismounted to form B Battalion, Machine Gun Corps with the 1/1st Warwickshire Yeomanry. The focus of training was now on machine gunning, bayonet fighting, gas drills and infantry drill.

In late May 1918 orders were received that the South Notts were to embark for France on a transporter ship the Leasowe Castle. At midnight on 27th May when the Leasowe Castle was in a convoy about 104 miles north-west from Alexandria she was struck by a torpedo from a U-boat on the starboard side, a little forward of amidships. The ship's engines were immediately stopped with the troops parading at their stations, boats were lowered and rafts thrown overboard. A Japanese destroyer stood by while the remainder of the convoy continued on their way at full speed and rapidly disappeared. During the lowering of boats, one was found to be stove in by the force of the explosion, but the remainder were launched in quick time and began to transport whatever could be saved via boat to the destroyer and picking up men who were swimming. About 1.45 am H.M. Sloop Lilly appeared, having turned back from the convoy to assist in the rescue. Suddenly, about 2 am, a bulkhead in the after port of the Leasowe Castle gave way and the ship sank rapidly by the stern, the bows rearing straight on end. Jim Tyler, aged 21, was one of 102 officers and men who lost their lives in this tragedy.

Jim is remembered on the Chatby Memorial, Alexandria, Egypt. He is also commemorated on the Memorial at All Saints Church, Loughborough, and on the Carillon.

Private 203178 John Henry Tyler

 

4th Bn, Leicestershire Regiment.

Killed in Action 9th November 1917, Aged 37.

Buried Philosophe British Cemetery III. A. 26.

 

John Henry Tyler was born in Hallaton, Leicestershire, in 1880. He was the second son of George Tyler, a blacksmith, and his wife Sarah Jane (née Buxton) who were married in the Uppingham area in 1877. John had three brothers Charles, Albert and Walter and four sisters Louisa, Edith, Florence and Annie. The Tyler family lived firstly in East Gate and then Hogs Lane, both in Hallaton.

As a young man John became a soldier and served under Lord Roberts in the 2nd Boer War. Details of his early service, however, have not survived. On 24th July 1904 he married Jane Harvey at All Saints Church, Loughborough, and the couple set up home at 48A Derby Road, Loughborough. John was now employed as a carter and by 1911 had become a carman and carrier for a provision stores. In 1914 he was working for Paten and Co., wine and spirit merchants, of 12-13 Market Place, Loughborough, and he had moved with his wife to 126 Ratcliffe Road. John and Jane had two daughters Jane Elizabeth and Doris.

As a Reservist John was mobilised when war broke out. As Private 20084 (later renumbered 203178) he joined the 1/4th Battalion of the Leicestershire Regiment. His medal record indicates that he was not sent to France until after the beginning of 1916 but the exact date is unknown as his service record has once again not survived. The 1/4th Battalion in France received drafts of Ordinary Ranks in November 1916 and January 1917 and John is likely to have been in one of these drafts.

In November 1916 the battalion was occupied with training at Drucat, Domvast, and Mondicourt prior to a return to the trenches at Bienvillers and then Hannescamps in December. After a Christmas break at Souastre the battalion returned to the Hannescamps trenches, going into brigade Reserve at Bienvillers at the end of the year. Further trench tours followed at Hannescamps in January 1917, with breaks at Souastre. On 27th and 28th January the battalion pushed forward and advanced the front line in operations at Gommecourt in December.

In February 1917 the battalion took over a new front line facing Monchy-au-Bois and experienced a very heavy enemy bombardment of trench mortars and shells. March began with training at Souastre followed a return to the front line between Hannescamps and La Brayelle before a move over nine days to Flechin took place. April began with training at Flechin and Erny St. Julien followed by a move over several days to Lens, arriving on 18th April. Two trench tours north-west of Lens in the Cité St. Pierre sector took up the rest of April.

May began with training at Noeux les Mines before trench tours in the Lievin sector beginning on 12th and 18th May. Breaks at Red Mill and Fosse 10 included the digging of new trenches. June began with training for an attack which took place on the 8th June and was successful despite 74 casualties. From Brigade support in Lievin the battalion went into the line again west of Lens in the Cité Jeanne d'Arc sector on 10th and on 19th June with a break in between digging trenches. In billets at Bouvigny Boyeffles from 22nd-27th June the battalion took part at Marqueffles Farm in practice for another attack.

From the trenches at the foot of Hill 65 on 28th June the battalion advanced in heavy rain and succeeded in their objectives. Another attack on 1st July was also successful. Relieved on 3rd July the battalion was taken by bus to billets at Monchy Breton and Orlancourt where training and sports took place until 27th July. From Brigade Reserve at Noeux les Mines the battalion was sent back to the trenches at Hulluch on 28th July.

Between 28th July and 15th November the battalion completed nine trench tours in the St. Elie sector with breaks at Fouquières and Philosophe. John was in the trenches when he was killed, aged 37, on 9th November 1917. He was buried in Philosophe British Cemetery, Grave III. A. 26.

John's wife received messages from his platoon officer, who wrote: 'I trust you may find some consolation from the fact that he has always done his duty nobly and well, and was one of the very best soldiers in the company. All the officers and men join with me in offering you their deepest sympathy in your great loss'. John's sergeant wrote that Private Tyler was killed by shellfire and died a hero's death fighting for a noble cause. 'He was a grand old soldier, one of the best I have ever known'.

John's brothers all joined the Army. Albert, who was with the 9th Leicesters, was killed in 1916. Charles, who was the steward of the Loughborough Constitutional Club, served with the Royal Garrison Artillery and Walter suffered from gas poisoning.

Private 4035 William Tyler

 

3/5th Bn, Leicestershire Regiment.

Died Home 20th October 1918.

Buried Loughborough Cemetery 2/208.