The WW1 Roll of Honour:
Surnames U - V

Sergeant 14030 Herbert Bernard Unwin


8th Bn, Leicestershire Regiment.                                            

Killed in Action 25th September 1916, Aged 21.

Comemmorated Thiepval Memorial pier & face 2c & 3a.       


Herbert Bernard Unwin, known to his family and friends as 'Bernard', was born in Loughborough in 1896, the son of Frederick and Ellen Unwin. Bernard's father was originally a framework knitter but became a labourer in an iron works and in 1901 the Unwin family lived at 22 Sparrow Hill, Loughborough. Bernard had two older brothers Charles and Joseph and four older sisters Ellen, Elizabeth, Frances and Mabel. Two other siblings died young. By 1911 the Unwin family had moved to 32 Rendell Street and Bernard, aged 15, was an apprentice brass moulder at the Brush Company works.

Bernard enlisted on 4th September 1914 and joined the 8th (Service) Battalion of the Leicestershire Regiment as Private 14030. From the Depot he was sent firstly to Aldershot for training. He proved to be a very capable recruit and was quickly promoted to Lance Corporal on 5th November 1914 and to Corporal on 15th December 1914.

Bernard moved to Shorncliffe in Kent at the end of February 1915. In April 1915 Bernard'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 Bernard 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. Bernard was promoted again to Acting Sergeant on 14th December 1915.

In April 1916 Bernard had moved with the 8th Leicesters to the Doullens area for six weeks cleaning up, resting and training. On 10th May 1916 Bernard was confirmed in the position of Sergeant. In mid-May the battalion 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 Bernard'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.

Bernard was killed in action on 25th September, aged 21. His officer conveyed the news of his death to his mother, and wrote: 'Dear Mrs. Unwin, I wish you to accept my deep sympathy with you at the loss of your son, Sergeant Bernard Unwin. I was away from the battalion at the time we were in the big battle and did not hear of the loss until my return. Sergeant Unwin was for a time my platoon Sergeant, and I always found him ready and willing to help me in any way he could. He was a splendid soldier and a good fellow in every way, and is missed by every man in the company'.

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

Bernard's parents were left without any of their sons nearby as Bernard's brothers Charles and Joseph both emigrated to Australia. His sisters, however, all remained in Loughborough.

Private 241534 Ronald Unwin


1/5th Bn, Leicestershire Regiment.

Previously served as 4259 Leicestershire Regiment.

Killed in Action 29th April 1917, Aged 20.

Buried Bully-Grenay Communal Cemetery I. F. 16.

Also known as 'Ronald Onions'.

Ronald Unwin was born in Loughborough in 1896, his birth being officially registered as 'Ronald Onions'. He was the youngest child of Alma Onions and his wife Alice (née Hartshorn) and was baptised as 'Ronald Onions' at All Saints' Church, Loughborough, on 6th July 1897. Ronald's parents were married at Emmanuel Church, Loughborough on 24th July 1877, his father Alma, a framework knitter, using the name of 'Albert Onions'.

Ronald's entire family either varied their surname between Unwin and Onions or pronounced it in such a way that made it unclear. One vicar of All Saints' Parish Church in Loughborough entered a family baptism as 'Onions or Unwin'. Most census enumerators between 1851 and 1901 understood the surname to be Onions, but the 1871 enumerator thought it was Unwin. In 1911 Ronald's father clearly signed his census return as 'Alma Onions'. His death in 1932, however, was registered as 'Alma Unwin' while the death of Ronald's mother in 1915 was registered as 'Alice Onions'.

Ronald had four brothers Walter, Ernest, Fred and Arthur, and three sisters Florence, Emily and Eliza. Ronald's brothers Arthur and Walter tended to use the surname Unwin for official purposes.

In 1891 the family lived at 126 Station Road, Loughborough, but by 1901 had moved to 39 Union Street and Ronald's father had set up a house painting and decorating business. His father later moved to 123 Herrick Road. In 1911 Ronald, aged 14, was a grocer's errand boy.

The date of Ronald's enlistment is unknown but he joined the 1/5th Leicestershire Regiment as Private 4259 and was known as 'Ronald Unwin'. He was later re-numbered as Private 241534 and sent to France on 11th December 1915. When Ronald joined his battalion they were in billets at Merville, training, on route marches and on parades. Training continued at Thiennes from 19th December until Boxing Day when the battalion moved into billets at Aire.

In early January 1916 the battalion was sent to Marseilles to await transport to Egypt. They had only just embarked on H.M.T. Andania when orders came that they were to disembark and travel back to the Somme area of Picardy - Gallipoli had been successfully evacuated and they were no longer needed in Egypt. In mid-February orders came for the battalion to take over the line north of the River Ancre opposite Beaumont-Hamel. 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. Ronald survived this battle and on 3rd July went with his battalion into billets at Bienvillers. 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 once more up to the 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. Ronald was killed in action there on 29th April, aged 20.

Ronald was buried in Bully-Grenay Communal Cemetery Grave I. F. 16. He is remembered on the war memorial in the former St. Peter's Church building, Loughborough, and on the Carillon.

Private Joseph Arthur Upton


Army Service Corps.                                            

Died of Wounds 11th July 1918, Aged 22.

Buried Loughborough Cemetery  45/171      


Joseph Upton's Wife and young son lived at 37 Wellington Street Loughborough.

 Joseph Arthur Upton

Has no memorial on his grave.

Lance Corporal 8428 John Lawrence Varley


2nd Bn, King's Own Scottish Borderers. 

Died Doeberitz Prisoner 12th April 1917, Aged 33.

Buried Berlin South Western Cemetery, Brandenburg, XX. B. 2.       


John Lawrence Varley was born in late 1884/early 1885 in Nottinghamshire. He was the son of John Varley and his wife Violetta Elizabeth (nee Atkin) who were married at St. Mary's Church, Arnold, Nottinghamshire, on 5th October 1882. John Lawrence's father was a framework knitter and in 1891 the Varley family was living at Nelson Street, Heanor, Derbyshire. By 1901 they had moved to 25 Moira Street, Loughborough. By 1911 Violetta Varley had died and John's father had moved back to Bond Street, Arnold, with three of his children. John Lawrence had one brother Walter and six sisters Edith, Mabel, Evelyn, Elsie, Ivy and May.

In 1901 John, aged 16 was working as a sawmill labourer in Loughborough. Not long after this he enlisted with the King's Own Scottish Borderers and joined their 1st Battalion. After returning from the 2nd Boer War in South Africa the battalion was sent to Belfast for a couple of years and then to Colchester in 1905. In 1906 the battalion was posted to Egypt until 1911 when they moved to Rhaniket, India, and one year later to Lucknow. By 1911 John had been promoted to Sergeant.

John left the Army, but as a Reservist he was called up when war broke out in 1914. At the time he was lodging with his friend, a Mr. Jones, at 8 Chestnut Street, Loughborough, and was employed at Mr Jacob Smith's wood mills.

Although John's service record has not survived it is known that in 1914 he joined the 2nd Battalion of the King's Own Scottish Borderers as Lance Corporal 8428. The battalion sailed from Dublin, where it was stationed at the time, to Le Havre and John entered France on 15th August 1914.

Throughout the war the 2nd Battalion was involved in various actions on the Western Front. During 1914 it took part in the battles of Mons, Le Cateau, Marne, Aisne, La Bassée and Messines, and 1st Ypres. In 1915 it was involved in the 2nd Battle of Ypres and the Capture of Hill 60 and in 1916 it fought at High Wood, Guillemont, Flers-Courcelette, Morval and Le Transloy.

John was taken as a Prisoner of War by the Germans at some point between 1914 and 1917 and sent to Döberitz prisoner of war camp at Brandenburg 8 km west of Berlin. He died there, aged 33, on 12th April 1917 and was buried at Berlin South Western Cemetery, Brandenburg, Grave XX. B 2. John is remembered on the memorial in the former St. Peter's Church building, Loughborough, as well as on the Carillon.

Rifleman 42462 Arthur Vesty


8th Bn, West Yorkshire Regiment (Prince of Wales's own) 

Formerly 38011 Leicestershire Regiment                                          

Killed in Action 23rd July 1918, Aged 22.

Buried Jonchery-Sur-vesle British Cemetery, Marne I. F. 27.       


Second Lieutenant Kenneth Jesson Vick


Royal Flying Corps.

Previously Private 2021, 1/9th London Regiment (Queen Victoria's Rifles)        

Killed while Flying 5th July 1917, Aged 28.

Buried Beverley St. Mary's Church, Yorkshire, S. 22.       


Kenneth Jesson Vick was born at 133 Park Road, Loughborough in 1889, the son of the Reverend Charles William Vick and his wife Agnes Mabel Vick (née Davis) who were married in Stroud, Gloucestershire, in 1883. Kenneth's father was Minister of the Baptist Church in Wood Gate, Loughborough, from 1882-1893. His father then became Minister at Brondesbury Baptist Church, Kilburn, north London, and subsequently Minister of Baptist churches at Woodborough Road, Nottingham and of Winchmore Hill, near Enfield, Middlesex. They later moved to South Benfleet, Essex.

Kenneth had two brothers Charles and Donald, and two sisters Mabel and Gladys. From the mid-1890s to early 1900s the Vick family lived at 2 Dyne Road, Brondesbury, but by 1911 had moved to 50 Fordwych Road, Cricklewood. In 1911 Kenneth worked as a clerk in a tourist office.

Kenneth enlisted in August 1914. He joined the 1/9th London Regiment (Queen Victoria's Rifles) as Private 2021. He was sent to Bullswater, Surrey, and then in September to Crowborough, Sussex. He proceeded to France on 4th November 1914. The battalion fought with the Army's 5th Division throughout 1915, at Hill 60 (17th April-7th May), the 2nd Second Battle of Ypres (22nd April-25th May) and St Julien (24th April-4th May). In February 1916 the 56th Division was formed in France and the 9th Battalion were allocated to the 169th Brigade. It fought with this division on the Somme in 1916 and in the Arras Offensive of 1917.

Between 1915 and 1917 Kenneth learnt to fly in France. He was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the Royal Flying Corps (RFC) on 6th June 1917 and was sent to Seaton Carew, Yorkshire, a small seaside resort between Hartlepool and the mouth of the River Tees which had an airstrip to the south of the town. A detachment of No. 36 Home Defence Squadron of the RFC Cramlington, Northumberland, was based there, charged with the defence of the North East of England and the Yorkshire coast.

On 5th July 1917 Kenneth was flying a BE2e (A1321) which broke up in flight and crashed on 5th July 1917. Kenneth, aged 28, was killed. He was buried at St. Mary's Church, Beverley, Yorkshire, Grave S. 22.

Kenneth's father was not allowed to attend the military enquiry into the accident.

Kenneth is remembered (incorrectly as H.J.Vick) on a plaque at All Saints Church, Bishop Burton, Yorkshire. His name appears on another memorial that probably originally hung in the Brondesbury Baptist Church (now demolished). This latter memorial was discovered in a rather sad state in the back garden of a nearby Highgate film producer.

Kenneth's brother Donald also joined the London Rifles but as a Lieutenant. His brother Charles joined the Royal Army Medical Corps as a Private. Both survived the war, although one was wounded twice.

Plaque in All Saints Church, Bishop Burton